Perhaps the most important part of our Democratic process is our citizens’ ability to vote and elect those who will make the crucial decisions for our local governments. On the local level, villages provide our residents with basic services, from emergency services, water and garbage collection to snow removal. As the former mayor for a village for eight years, I am fully aware of the effectiveness of our local villages.
This March and June, residents will be going to the polls to elect fellow residents to serve on the various village boards. Our citizens must be able to vote in a system that is accurate and effective so that the Democratic process continues. It is critical for our system of government.
The members of the Sewanhaka Central High School District Board of Education cordially invite all members of the school community to attend a meeting on March 10 in the auditorium of Sewanhaka High School from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. to assist the board in establishing direction for the selection process for the new Superintendent of Schools. The board is facing the most important task any school board ever faces: replacing its chief school officer. We are confident that you will want to be a part of this process.
The first, and probably the most important, part of the process is to identify the personal and professional qualities and experiences that the Sewanhaka school community would like the new superintendent of schools to possess. At this meeting, you will have an opportunity to meet one or more of the search consultants from School Leadership, LLC, which has been engaged by the board to assist it in the search. The consultants will describe the process and estimated timetable for conducting the search.
As I complete my second month serving the people of the 7th Senate District, I am continuously reminded that these are interesting times in New York State. There are discussions going on in Albany about subjects that are now getting the serious attention they deserve. Mandate relief, for example, is something we need to discuss in the coming months, especially in light of the likelihood that a 2 percent tax cap will be implemented.
On Thursday, Feb. 17, we had the opportunity to hear testimony from a wide range of stakeholders in our local communities, from our board of education members and school superintendents to our village mayors at a hearing on mandate relief, entitled “The True Path to Reducing New York’s Real Property Tax Burden: Mandate Relief and Tax Caps,” chaired by Senator John Flanagan and myself. I would like to thank all of those who took time out of their busy schedules to testify.
The Nassau County Interim Finance Authority or “NIFA” recently issued a control period over County finances. NIFA is comprised of non-elected and unaccountable individuals appointed by State politicians.
Many supporters have asked me if NIFA’s action is politically motivated since its board is comprised of the former Vice-Chairman of the Democrat Party and the political campaign treasurer for the former Democrat Presiding Officer of Nassau County. The Board’s statement that the board is bipartisan is hollow as the Republican member is former County Executive Tom Suozzi’s budget director.
My supporters and the media should know that while I am concerned that NIFA is politically motivated and partisan, I am alarmed that the architects of Nassau’s budget mess are now acting as its watchdog.
This ought to be a point of pride for us: Hometown boy makes good.
With the new Congress, Long Island Congressman Peter King became the chair of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives.
For Republican leaders in Congress, King must seem like the natural choice for the important position. He’s worked long and hard on the issue, sometimes letting an honest examination of the facts take him where other politicians refused to go.
One of his most laudable moments came after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, an attack that was perpetrated by right-wing militia sympathizers.
Our state is at a crossroads. After years of overtaxing and overspending, we are at the fiscal brink. We can continue down our current road to financial ruin or we can take a new course – a road to recovery.
Yesterday I submitted my Executive Budget and today [Feb. 3] I released a message about it that you can see at www.governor.ny.gov.
The budget is designed to get our state on the right path by eliminating a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes or borrowing. Just as importantly, it will transform our state’s budget process itself.
It’s been an historic week in Albany from the perspective that our state government is at last bringing tax relief to our residents. I was pleased to have voted along with my colleagues on a 2 percent tax cap to be imposed on local government. This will help to ensure that our residents will not be saddled with heavy tax increases that will drive them from their homes. The taxpayers have clearly spoken and we are listening.
The tax cap has been passed by the Senate and is supported by Governor Cuomo. We now need the Assembly to pass this legislation to begin the process of easing the tax burden on all New Yorkers.
The tax cap is the first step in tax relief for Long Island families. Along with the tax cap, we must ensure that state mandates will not hinder our local governments’ and school districts’ ability to meet the cap. To that end, I introduced a resolution that was passed in the Senate that urges Governor Cuomo and his Mandate Relief and Medicaid Redesign Teams to look for ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs on schools and local governments.
(Submitted by the New York State School Boards Association.)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to link state funding with student achievement and administrative efficiencies may have garnered initial criticism from some educators, but a recent poll from the New York State School Boards Association shows school board members may be warming to the idea.
Under the governor’s proposal, $250 million would go to school districts that improve classroom performance, and another $250 million would be directed to districts that improve efficiency and share services. As long as those dollars do not come from other existing state school funding sources, 51 percent of board members responding to the recent online poll said they would support Cuomo’s idea.
“In this time of economic uncertainty, local districts are understandably wary about losing any more funding,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “But if the governor were to fund these grants without reducing state aid to schools, it seems board members would embrace the idea.”
My first month in office has been both exciting and challenging – mirroring the times we face in our daily lives. I have had the opportunity to meet with community leaders in all corners of our great district as I have visited schools, fire departments, villages and various community groups to listen to the concerns in each and discuss how we can address the challenges ahead.
During this month, we have stayed true to our commitment to providing fiscal responsibility to our State. I am pleased to have sponsored the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act which not only sets a cap of 2 percent on year to year state spending increases and requires a super majority in both houses of the legislature in order to raise state taxes and fees, but also provides incentives to small business throughout New York State to create jobs, something we all agree we desperately need.
The bill provides businesses with a three-year tax credit of up to $5,000 for each new job created and eliminates taxes for small businesses that are hindering job growth.
Ed Mangano has been in office over one year now.
Under his leadership, the County’s bond rating has been downgraded for the first time in over a decade. Overtime is through the roof. He has handed out millions in political patronage jobs and legal fees. He has failed to develop a comprehensive plan to address the effects of the nation’s worst economic crisis on Nassau County’s budget, and each week we are learning of a new breakdown in one of the County’s many departments.
To top it all off the Nassau Interim Finance Authority will decide whether or not to take over the County in the next two weeks.
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