Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

District # 19

CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    Jeffrey B. Gold (DEM, WFP, WEP) Attorney

  • Candidate picture

    Steven D. Rhoads (REP, CON, IND, TRP, REF) Attorney, Volunteer Firefighter, Elected Official

Change Candidates

Every candidate in every Nassau County election for decades says something like: “We must reform the unjust property tax system to provide businesses and homeowners with a transparent, fair and clear assessment program going forward.” And it never happens. Other than repeating the above, what is your specific plan for fixing this system that continues a debt burden for Nassau County.

Integrity, honesty, trustworthiness are all qualities we expect from our politicians, yet Nassau County has had several elected officials that have faced criminal charges. What specifically will you do to implement accountability, transparency, checks and balances, and proper oversight? What concrete steps will you take to re-build the public’s trust?

Having the financial resources to live in Nassau County is becoming increasingly difficult. What strategic plans do you have on the county level to support and partner with the various municipalities to create more affordable housing for young adults, working families and seniors?

Redistricting and gerrymandering affect the choice of candidates that voters elect to represent them. What are your views for setting up an independent redistricting commission for Nassau County for the drawing of lines after the 2020 census? If you agree with setting up an independent redistricting commission, how would you make it a reality in Nassau County? If you are not for an independent redistricting commission, why not?

I was a Member of the Nassau Board of Assessors from 2002 until 2004 and as a Commissioner of ARC from 2004 to 2008. During the period, I worked tirelessly to make sure that the Assessment rolls were accurate, and I identified a major flaw in the last reassessment, and made sure it was corrected. Since then I have lectured in front of thousands of residents all over the County on Assessment reform and have created the 10,000 member Facebook Group Nassau Grieve Your Tax Assessment Free. My group has shed light on the process and ARC procedure. Accuracy is possible. First we ensure reassessment is accurate, and if not we fix it. This may require an expert consultant. Then we hire a qualified Assessor, and appropriate Assessment staff. When you have a qualified Assessor and accurate rolls, the numbers promulgated, both residential and commercial, are presumed by law to be accurate. This will reduce the number of reductions and refunds. Then we conduct annual/semi-annual updates
I think it is essential that the County have an Independent Inspector General to review all contracts, both past and present, to ensure that we hire the best contractors, not those that donate the most money. I would severely limit campaign donations from entities that want to do business with the County. I would propose a law that prevents disbarred attorneys from serving in County Government including the Hospital and OTB in any roll, where they would have control over personnel, contracts or budgets. The "Ethics" law recently passed the Legislature did not go far enough.
I support allowing combined work/living space in our down towns, and in factory/warehouse space. Obviously, all properties will need to comply with local building codes, but I believe that such housing will attract young professionals and artists, and revitalize blighted and under-utilized areas.
I am for an independent redistricting commission. The currently legislative districts are ridiculous with Merrick, Bellmore, Freeport, and Wantagh each having three Legislators. I strongly support creating districts based on school districts and shared downtowns so ALL Bellmore would be in one Legislative District. All Merrick would be in one Legislative District (presumably with Bellmore). All Wantagh would be in one Legislative District presumably with Seaford. All Freeport would have a single Legislator perhaps with Baldwin.
Nassau is one of only two counties in New York State that assesses at the County level. Most perform this task at the Town level. Given that there are 423,000 properties in Nassau, it is the sheer volume of properties that prevents individual valuations which would make tentative assessments more accurate. Moreover, the County Guarantee, whereby Nassau pays 100% of any refunds due on taxes paid to school districts and other municipalities, is an albatross around the necks of County taxpayers. Until we get required reform at the State level to fix these issues, there are four proposals that would lead to more accurate assessments: 1) a 3-year cyclical revaluation will provide more accurate tentative assessments and lessen the disparity between those who do and don't grieve. 2) a return to full-value assessment, establishing a uniform "level of assessment" 3) investments in technology and staff to help get our valuations right the first time and 4) a return to an elected Assessor.
No one is above the law and, sadly, both political parties have had their share of elected officials, including my predecessor, whose criminal actions have violated the public's trust. That is unacceptable. Over the past two years, I have sponsored and passed legislation overhauling Nassau's contracting and procurement process; created a Director of Procurement Compliance to ensure strict adherence to all policies and empowered the County's Board of Ethics and Commissioner of Investigations to provide unprecedented independent oversight with the ability to investigate any vendor, government employee or elected official and refer any suspected criminal activity to the District Attorney. I have also sponsored and passed legislation banning convicted felons from holding elected or appointed County office. This ensures that those who would put their interests ahead of taxpayer's will never get the chance and warns those in government today that there is zero tolerance for corruption.
While it is important that Nassau maintain a suburban quality of life, we must work to provide transit-oriented development to create housing opportunities for young professionals and affordable senior housing throughout our county or we will lose the talent of those who built our County and those who will carry it forward. Affordable housing also means controlling the tax burden. From 2000-2010 Nassau Democrats raised taxes an average of 4.23% every year and raised spending at an even faster rate, 4.4% per year. In contrast, under Republican leadership from 2010-17 taxes have gone up 0.3% annually and spending by just 0.7%. Doing more with less hasn't been just talk. Since 2010. every financial indicator in Nassau has improved. NIFA's budgetary structural gap has been slashed by 80%; debt is down, reserve funds are up and our bond rating was recently increased to A+ status. Republicans fight to control taxes and spending because that is what's needed to keep Nassau affordable.
New York State law places responsibility upon the Nassau County Legislature for the adoption of legislative district lines in Nassau County. Our County Charter, which was adopted by public referendum, mandates a process that engages a broad spectrum of political expertise and public input. Both State law and legal guidance from the Federal and State courts provide for standards that serve as an objective road map for elected decision-makers to adopt a plan that best serves the People and protects the Constitutional standard of "one person, one vote". This is not, however, a perfect process and as the Legislator for the 19th District, I am always open to ways that can improve not only this process, but any function of County government. It cannot be understated, however, that placing responsibility in the hands of elected representatives who are directly accountable to the People ensures far greater transparency than placing such trust in the hands of unelected political appointees.

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