Sunday, June 19, 2005

Harvey Levinson Fights Back

Chairman of the Nassau County Board of Assessors and TOH Supervisor candidate Leveinson sets the record straight and takes on the GOP BS in Newsday.

Assessing property taxes
Property taxes throughout Nassau County are out of control. The Department of Assessment does not set municipal, school district or special district operating budgets or tax rates, mail out tax bills or collect taxes. But the department's property assessments are often blamed for the tax hikes in order to divert taxpayers' scrutiny from the budget increases and redirect their anger and frustration.
Since assuming office in January of 2004, I have never shied away from difficult issues - finding new ways to combat the growth of illegal and unsafe multifamily houses throughout the county or lobbying the State Legislature for a phase-in of assessment increases. With the knowledge that my assessment phase-in initiative was left to die in a State Senate committee, despite its overwhelming support by both parties in the Assembly, I introduced a resolution at the June 7 meeting of the Board of Assessors calling for the restoration of a 16-percent cap on assessment increases for residential properties for the 2007-08 tax year.
By passing this resolution, the Board of Assessors is complying with Article 18 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law, which mandates a 6-percent cap for Nassau homeowners. This is the law. Unfortunately, when the previous administration agreed to the terms of a Supreme Court order in March 2000, no-one advocated that assessment increases be phased in. The lack of a phase-in resulted in tremendous shifts in school property tax increases for middle-class communities.
Until the State Senate agrees to cooperate with its colleagues in the Assembly and passes the initiatives I proposed in 2004, I have no option but to comply with existing state law.
Harvey B. Levinson

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