In Douglas Finlay's article "Report Confirms Surplus in County", it amazes me how, at a time when the Bush administration continues to drag this country dangerously in the red, the fiscally responsible Democrats of Nassau County manage to not only stay afloat, but have the forsight to put aside $57.3million of its $76.8 million surplus for future budgetary stresses.
Having the mindset of the old Republican machine, Leg.Norma Gonsalves stated that she would spend the surplus on new hires which would be spending a onetime revenue on recurring costs. This is precisely the spending policies that almost bankrupted the county.
Since Leg. Dave Denenberg took office, Nassau County has reduced its work force to the lowest level in 40 years. And this he has done, while managing to secure record funding for revitalization projects in our neighborhood and has made certain that the county roads in our district have been repaired.
Leg. Gonsalves continues to perpetrate the party's platform when she calls for hiring more police officers. The County has hired new police as fast as possible. Over the last 2 years, each police class has been full to capacity. Asking for more police is just election year rhetoric.
What disturbs me even more is Kate Murray's double-speak when she says she would "hold the line on taxes." Although the county has managed not to raise taxes in three years, last year Kate Murray as Town Supervisor, had double digit tax increases in the general fund.
I am tired of their statements that falsely accuse the county of tax increases and in the same breath, demand more spending and then go on to increase taxes in our special districts and hope that we won't notice that our taxes are being raised.
The Republican machine ignores the real property tax issue-- runaway school taxes caused by New York State and its unfunded mandates, arcane educations laws and ever decreasing school aid as a percentage of our total school budgets. It is our local Democrats who have pushed for change in Albany, since Nassau schools receive only 17% of their budgets in school aid, when the state average is 40%.
To speak of taxes and ignore the school tax issue is truly a disservice to us all. Indeed, the county tax is only about 15 - 20 perecet of our proprrty tax. Nassau County has been gaining recognition nationwide. Just within the last few months, The Smith Report has named Nassau County as one of the three best turn-arounds in the country. Forbes Magazine reported Long Island as having the lowest crime rate in the country and Nassau County has been lifted from nearjunk bond status to a Fitch Bond Rating of A+.
I can now lift my head up high and say I'm proud to live in Nassau County, instead of in years past, when I had to bury my head in Long Island's sand because Nassau County had been synonymous with corruption. I would like to thank Leg. Dave Denenberg and County Executive Tom Suozzi for seeing their vision of a better Nassau County come to life. I would also like to thank them for continuing their fight to change the way we are taxed on Long Island.
Keep up the goodwork.