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Letter: Support Taxpayer Relief Bill

Long Island and NYS taxes continue to rise at an unsustainable rate. Primary cost drivers are unfunded mandates, which get a lot of talk and attention in state-wide hearings, but somehow never result in any cost-controlling action. I would like to bring your readers’ attention to Smithtown NYS Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick’s bill A8603.

This bill addresses three primary cost drivers:

• Step increases in expired contracts - Currently, the Triborough Amendment mandates that salaries continue to rise even when a union contract expires. This bill would end the practice, giving employers a fair negotiating position.

• Unlimited mandatory arbitration awards - Currently, police and firefighters are entitled to a mandatory arbitration process when their contract negotiations reach an impasse. Historical evidence in Nassau and Suffolk counties shows high cost arbitration settlements. This bill would limit arbitration awards to 2 percent.

• Pension reform - Currently, public sector employees are entitled to a taxpayer guaranteed defined benefit pension (with unknown costs to the taxpayer). This bill would require future public sector employees to enroll in a defined contribution pension (with known costs each year) similar to private sector employees and already available to SUNY faculty for many years. The added benefit to the enrollee would be plan portability.

To discuss these issues and A8603, a Taxpayer Mandate Relief Forum is scheduled for Thursday, May 8 at 7 p.m., at the Melville Marriot (1359 Walt Whitman Rd.) with Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick; Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio; David Little, NYS School Board Association; Stephen Whitt, Hewlett & BOCES Trustee; EJ McMahon, Empire Center For NYS Policy; Steve Flanagan, Conservative Society for Action and host, past Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

Please attend and please contact your NYS elected official to support A8603 Taxpayer Mandate Relief Bill.

Anita MacDougall

Oyster Bay

 

News

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com