For the past 24 years under Republican, Democrat and again, Republican administrations, Nassau residents have carried the burden of an unfair and opaque property tax assessment system. The assessment system is broken and it needs to be changed. On January 1, 2018 all properties will be reassessed and that assessment must be fair and transparent. However, it is time for Nassau to implement a system of assessment that is in operation in EVERY OTHER COUNTY in New York State. The three towns and two city governments in Nassau should perform the assessment process and should bear the burden or refunding tax dollars when a property owner wins an assessment challenge. It is long past due to conclude that Nassau County is incapable of performing the assessment process competently. Twenty-four years is a long time to fix the problem. It's time to try something that works everywhere else. If elected, I will advocate to get our lawmakers in Albany to change the current law.
As a former career prosecutor I have seen how some elected officials turned their offices into vehicles to enrich themselves at public expense. I will advocate to create an office of Inspector General to monitor public contracts; implement local laws that prevent lawmakers from using public dollars to promote themselves; enact strict conflict of interest laws for lawmakers and Nassau County employees; limit contribution amounts to decrease "pay for play" on public contracts; enact county laws that prevent lawmakers from earning fees and salaries from other government entities; enact term limits for county officials; enact laws that prevent elected officials from also serving as elected or appointed officials of political parties; enact laws that disclose the lobbying of Nassau County employees and elected officials by lobbyists and special interest groups.
Smart growth and strategic planning is a necessity for our towns and villages in order to attract a population that will continue to sustain our county. Affordable housing, access to mass transportation and vibrant downtowns are essential. Nassau County should provide resources, including financial assistance, to assist these communities prepare and plan for this change and growth. The county, in cooperation with the communities, should provide incentives to developers to build and include affordable housing, based on income, so that seniors, young adults and all members of our community can benefit. Particular attention needs to be focused on density, parking and traffic congestion. We want to attract a well-educated workforce and employers who need them and we need to attract high tech industries that want to be near their markets. We need to put forth a vision on how we want to achieve these goals and then move to implement it. Doing nothing is not an alternative.
An independent redistricting commission is the preferable option to reduce partisanship and reflect the makeup of the county more fairly. I would work to enact legislation that would specifically set the requirements of who could serve on the commission and create specific criteria to make districts more accurately reflect the makeup of the residents of the particular district. Although gerrymandering is a long-held tradition of American electoral politics it is an anachronism that has long outlived its usefulness and should be abolished in Nassau County. This would go a long way to make for more "fair fights" in districts and hold the officeholder to be more responsive and accountable to the voters.
I think there are several promising proposals that are under consideration including mandating a three-year cyclical assessment, returning to an elected assessor, demystifying tax bills by allowing for a “full value” assessment, and exploring the concept of transferring assessment to the towns.
The newly created disputed assessment fund escrows disputed tax payments prior to paying a tax refund on commercial properties resulting in a dramatic decrease to the County’s massive annual financial liabilities. This allows financial resources to be allocated towards reducing backlogged claims and paying down debt.
It is impossible to individually value the 423,000 residential properties in Nassau. I believe as many residents as possible should challenge their assessments As Legislator, I have and will continue to host multiple tax grievance workshops to advise my residents as to their rights and how to challenge their assessments.
No one is above the law and no governing body should tolerate those that abuse their office for personal gain. Over the past two years, my Republicans colleagues and I have passed numerous laws to enhance the oversight and transparency of County government, including new disclosure requirements for lobbyists, vendors and consultants, detailed business histories for those that would do business with the County, political campaign disclosures for vendors, and the hiring of a procurement compliance director and commissioner of investigations to ensure all contract processes and procedures receive strict compliance.
The Legislature banned felons from running for office and amended the County Code of Ethics to include: a politically diverse Board of Ethics; mandated ethics training; enhanced contractual disclosure; and penalties for anyone, within or outside of government, that attempts to induce any county officer or employee from violating their ethical obligations.
As Legislator, I will continue to aggressively monitor our budget so that we never return to the runaway tax increases of the previous Democrat administration that so detrimentally impacted our youth and senior populations.
While it is very important to me that Nassau retain its suburban character, I do support leveraging the resources of all levels of government to facilitate transit oriented and “downtown” development to provide workforce housing opportunities for young people and the creation of state of the art senior housing opportunities throughout Nassau County.
My Republicans colleagues and I have fought so hard to hold the line on taxes and spending - and that is exactly what is required to make Nassau County affordable.
New York State Law unambiguously places the responsibility for the adoption of legislative district lines for Nassau County with the Nassau County Legislature. The Nassau County Charter, adopted by referendum, mandate a process that engages a broad spectrum of political expertise and public input. New York State Law and legal guidance from both state and federal courts provide for standards that can objectively allow decision makers to adopt a plan that protects the constitutional goal of “one person, one vote.” As the Legislator for the 6th L.D., I am always willing to discuss improvements to this process. However, the law and the democratic process place this great responsibility on elected officials, not on unaccountable political appointees.