Written by State Senator Jack Martins Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00
Alas, after 21 years of keeping us in good spirits and good company with his “Late Show” humor, David Letterman announced his retirement this past week. In his honor, I’ll share highlights from our state’s new budget in Letterman style with a “Top 10” countdown entitled: Top 10 — I mean 12 — reasons to like the new, New York State budget
12. This year’s budget is the fourth, consecutive, on-time budget we’ve delivered. That hasn’t happened in nearly four decades. For a little historical perspective, that’s further back than the Knicks’ last championship. (Sorry. I couldn’t help it.)
11. Moody’s Investors Service wasn’t so moody after all. They rated the new budget a “credit positive.”
10. Knowing full well that our local hospitals are about to get pummeled by the federal government’s health care policies, we dedicated $1 billion to help them maintain their infrastructures.
9. We took over county Medicaid payments, saving Nassau County taxpayers $80.6 million over the next four years.
8. A record $162 million for the State’s Environmental Protection Fund will help ensure clean air and water and protect our open spaces.
7. We added new “Extreme Winter Weather Assistance” funding to fill those extreme potholes Mother Nature left us this past winter. Overall, Nassau County and her towns, cities, and villages will receive over $20.6 million through this funding and the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program to repair our local roads.
6. Our Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) will cover the prescription drugs of more seniors. Income eligibility is expanded from $35,000 to $75,000 for singles and from $50,000 to $100,000 for married seniors. “Epic” is a pretty accurate description.
5. Taxpayers won’t be forced to pay college tuition for inmates. Governor Cuomo’s “Attica University” plan will receive funding from interested nonprofits and foundations instead.
4. We enacted a $1.5 billion real property tax rebate to provide homeowners with direct property tax relief.
3. We established a record setting $3.4 billion in funding for the STAR property tax relief program.
2. We provided more school aid — a 5.3 percent increase over last year. That means a total of $2.6 billion in assistance to our Long Island children! And for those of us fighting the Common Core, we extracted some reforms before the budget could go forward, namely no standardized tests for students in Pre-K through grade two, state assessment test scores for grades three through eight not being recorded on a student’s permanent record through 2018 and a halt to the state’s relationship with inBloom.
1. For four years running, we kept spending increases to less than two percent and delivered a fiscally responsible budget with absolutely no new taxes or fees.
No one got everything they wanted and there’s unquestionably more work to be done. The good news is that balanced government produced tangible results for, our constituents.
One of my favorite Letterman bits was his infamous Will it Float? in which random objects were dropped by two models into a tank of water in pursuit of scientific enlightenment. With all of the great things included, there is no question that this budget “floats.”
Last Updated (Tuesday, 16 September 2014 10:15) Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00
Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.
“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office confirmed it’s investigating allegations made towards a Long Island Little League coach, suggesting he kept $12,000 players raised for a trip to Cooperstown.
Parents were outraged and children heartbroken to find the team would not be going to Cooperstown this year. They say Merillon Sharks coach Vincent Carreca, of New Hyde Park, told kids they were ready to go a few days before the trip. Then parents, who called Dreams Park in Cooperstown to confirm meal plans, learned the Sharks were not registered for the event.
“This is a horrible thing that happened,” one parent said, who asked not to be identified.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
Sewanhaka boys soccer coach Peter Burgess wasn’t sure how long his team’s playoff drought was when it was broken last season.
“Somebody said it was 13 years,” said Burgess, whose entering his fourth year coaching varsity. “But I think it was five or six, I don’t know maybe longer.”
But one thing’s for certain, he wants to keep last year’s momentum going.
The Indians, who started their season with a 3-0 loss at Hewlett, will aim for their second straight trip to the playoffs this year.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Indians made their Nassau Conference II debut with a bang. The Indians opened their season at home against the Calhoun Colts, unsure what to expect, as all they had ever seen of the Colts was one tape of a scrimmage.
“It was nerve raking leading up to the game,” said Head Coach George Kasimatis. “We weren’t sure what to expect on offense or defense, you have to guess early on. “
But it didn’t take the Indians long to introduce themselves to the conference, as junior, Quarterback, Elijah Tracey broke a 75-yard run taking it the distance to put the Indians up early, which ended in a 27-7 rout of the Colts.