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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

Bullying is a serious problem in today’s society and the controversial topic was the focus at last Saturday’s  'Bully-Proof Your Child Seminar’ at East Coast MMA & Fitness Center in Hicksville. State Senator Jack Martins and Legislator Rose Marie Walker attended the program which ran in the newly renovated center on Woodbury Road.

“Bullying is a real issue in our communities and I want to thank East Coast Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness for agreeing to host this forum,” said Martins. “Teaching our kids self defense to protect themselves or to protect those around them is a great thing. We need to take every opportunity to teach our kids important life lessons.”

Old classmates reignited friendships and shared memories of their teenage years as the Hicksville High School Class of 1964 came together recently to celebrate their 50th reunion at the Holiday Inn in Plainview.

Among the attendees was Bob Cheeseman who met his wife, Lorraine (Kirwan) in middle school. They were serious throughout high school and married soon after. Bob said, “I enlisted in high school and went into the Air Force. I did 30 years active Air Force and another 15 after that. I retired in 2010 as a Brigadier General. After I retired, my wife received a certificate from the Governor of Texas and was designated a Yellow Rose of Texas.”


Sports

The Hicksville boys volleyball team improved to 3-3 on the season by topping Sewanhaka in three sets by the scores of 25-14, 25-20 and 25-13.

“We lost the first few matches this year but bounced back to win the last three,” said Hicksville’s second year Head Coach Kevin Bunting. “We have a young team — we lost three starters last year. We have no seniors on this team, but we have three juniors,” he added. Bunting noted that it will bode well for next year’s team when they have even more experience to build on.

It seemed to happen in an instant.

Hicksville forward Michael Osmundsen was touching the ball past Kellenburg goalkeeper Jack Abuin to slot the ball into an empty net to score the lone goal in the non-league 1-0 victory over the Firebirds.

It’s nothing short of what Comets boys soccer head coach Scott Starkey would expect. He described his forward as “very explosive, fast and he’s not just fast — he’s tenacious.”


Calendar

Community Council Meeting

October 2

Indoor Garage Sale

October 5

Movie: God’s Not Dead

October 5



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com