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From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins: April 10, 2014

Stopping The New York Exodus

I think it was sometime after our tenth snowstorm that some of the most die-hard New Yorkers I know said Florida wasn’t looking too bad.

Truth be told, when people leave the Empire State, it’s not in search of better weather, it’s mostly in search of a better life.

Did you know that from 2000 to 2010 New York lost more than 1.6 million residents to other states? They left because life here was just too expensive. That’s bad for our economy and worse for the families and friends impacted by separation.

Our friends and neighbors are not leaving their childhood homes, the communities they helped build, because they want to; they’re leaving because they need to.  That’s the unfortunate truth — New Yorkers have historically been chased away by high costs and taxes.

Like many of you, I grew up a tight-knit Long Island community and I’m now lucky enough to raise my own kids in that very same neighborhood. But it troubles me to think they might not be able to do the same. We have to find ways to make our communities affordable for young adults, our children, who want to stay, but can’t make ends meet.

As Chair of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, I’m in a position to help shape policies that keep New Yorkers in New York. And as I also Chair the Senate’s Committee on Local Government, I’m in a great position to advance ideas that I know work — downtown revitalization, transit-oriented development, next generation and senior housing. As the former Mayor of Mineola for eight years, I had first-hand experience with these successful revitalization efforts that I know can be replicated throughout Long Island and our state.

I brought together community and business leaders and developed a comprehensive plan for our downtown that was built on consensus. It introduced “smart growth” concepts that converted a decaying industrial railroad corridor into a pedestrian-friendly downtown complete with housing and public amenities that improved the quality of life.

As a small business owner myself, I knew that we had to get government out of the way so the private sector could crank the engine and get jobs and new homes to follow. So we ended the borrow and spend policies that had our village on the edge of a precipice and focused on redeveloping our downtown. When builders saw the rebound, they naturally wanted in too. They started building more affordable housing and even agreed to fund park and streetscape improvements which further enhanced the desirability of our communities.

We came to embrace Ronald Reagan’s now-famous assessment that, sometimes, government is the problem and not the solution, especially on a local level.  Why would anyone invest in creating new jobs or offer affordable housing when they could barely pay their sky-high taxes?

Well New York is now ready for its own rebound and I’m happy to help pave the way. In the last four years we’ve lowered the income tax for middle-class New Yorkers, passed a long-overdue tax cap and delivered four consecutive, on- time, balanced budgets. We’ve provided increases in aid to schools and funding for infrastructure improvements. And, we did it all without raising a single tax or fee. We’ve even initiated START-UP New York, a groundbreaking initiative that transforms communities into tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses. Now, they can operate 100 percent tax-free for 10 years. That’s real commitment from a Governor and State Senate serious about stopping the New York exodus.

I know what worked for us in Mineola can work everywhere on Long Island but it won’t be easy. It's a tedious, step-by-step process that has to be tailored for each community, but it’s a process that I’m familiar with and that I know will work. I still can’t do anything about the long, harsh winters but hopefully, in a few years, that will be the only reason anyone leaves New York.

News

Alan Yu, an external auditor from the firm, Cullen & Danowski LLP gave the findings of the annual district external audit at Oct. 22’s Hicksville Board of Education meeting. Discussed at the meeting were the financial statements of the 2013-14 school year which officially ended June 30.

According to Yu, the Hicksville School district has a fund balance of $34 million. Roughly 26 to 27 percent of the general fund balance comprises the total budget.

Levittown Hall in Hicksville comes alive every Thursday night with music, dance, fun and laughter as students are swept away into the world of Latin dance.

Under the instruction of professional teacher Mark James, dance hopefuls learn a trio of Latin dance, including salsa, meringue and what James describes as the biggest craze in Latin dancing today, bachata.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School


Calendar

Safe Trick or Treat

October 31

Election Day

November 4

Senior Luncheon

November 6



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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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