Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 19 March 2010 00:00
Saying the Senate Democrats have put an additional burden on New York State residents during the country’s worst recession in the last 80 years by overspending and overtaxing, Republican Jack M. Martins announced he will be running for New York State’s 7th Senate District in order to protect the interests of the residents and taxpayers.
Martins, who has been the mayor of the Village of Mineola for the past seven years, believes it is time for a change in leadership in New York in order to alleviate the state of its financial crisis.
The race in the 7th Senate District, which includes the entire Town of North Hempstead as well as Elmont, New Hyde Park, Floral Park, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Bellerose Village, Bellerose Terrace and parts of Franklin Square and Hicksville, figures to be a key one in New York State as a Republican win can help the Republicans take back the majority in the New York State Senate from the Democrats.
The 42-year-old Martins believes the state needs a new direction in order to stop the tide of taxing residents in order to pay for the overspending the state has been engaged in since being in the control of Democrats, he said.
“They’ve raised our taxes $8 billion last year alone in the middle of the worst recession we’ve had in over 80 years. Worse, they increased spending by $12 billion. On December 31, 2009, the unthinkable happened; New York State, the Empire State, ran out of money,” Martins said of the Democratic leadership in Albany.
Martins will be challenging incumbent Democratic Senator Craig Johnson of Port Washington. Johnson has been representing the 7th Senate District since 2007 when he won a special election over Republican Maureen O’Connell, who now serves as the Nassau County Clerk. Prior to that, the seat belonged to longtime Republican Senator Michael Balboni, who left the post in order to take a job as the deputy secretary for public safety for New York State.
Martins was critical of his opponent for voting for a state budget that included an increase in taxes and fees, as well as the elimination of the STAR rebate checks that were used to provide additional tax relief for residents. He was also critical of Johnson for supporting a bailout of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) that included a payroll tax imposed on all businesses in the metropolitan area. The tax called for 0.34 percent of all payrolls of businesses and municipalities to be sent to support the MTA. School districts have also had to pay the tax, but are supposed to be reimbursed.
Martins also criticized Democratic leadership for supporting a state budget that called for a decrease in school aid to Long Island schools and thus increasing the burden on property taxpayers.
“We see what the results are today. We have deficit spending. We’re going to have an $8 billion deficit this year alone, projecting a $12 billion deficit next year,” Martins said. “When you send me to Albany in November, I promise I will not vote for wasteful government spending; I will not vote for any tax increases; I will look for cost savings; I will cut costs; I will hold the bottom line. I will protect our children and our future.”
Republican Senator Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, who figures to be the majority leader of the Senate if the Republicans can win back the majority, pledged his full support to Martins’ campaign. “They raised your taxes last April by $2,400 for an average family of four,” said Skelos, referring to the state budget that was passed by the governor as well as the Democratic leadership in the Senate and Assembly last year. “We still see deficits and mismanagement on a daily basis.”
In response to the announcement that Martins was running for the 7th Senate District, spokesman for Senator Johnson, Rich Azzopardi, said, “Senator Johnson is making the tough decisions to keep New York afloat in a very bad economy and is proud to have directed state investment to communities across the 7th Senate District. These investments strengthen neighborhoods and relieve pressure on property tax levies by supporting important institutions like the Elmont School District, the Great Neck Senior Center, and the volunteer fire companies that comprise the First Battalion,” he said. “Senator Johnson has also been cited by good government groups as one of the most effective members of the state Senate, and has been widely recognized for his independence and ability to work across party lines. Of course, you won’t hear that from the one-note, cookie-cutter campaign that Jack Martins has started to wage.”