Reaching for the stars

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

The 1966 movie “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” earned 3 Oscar nominations including one for best picture. The premise, a Russian submarine runs aground near a small New England town rousing hilarious invasion concerns.

On Sunday May 2nd, Governor Andrew Cuomo sounded a mega-buster alarm. No, the Russians are not coming! It’s President Donald Trump and the House GOP’s “Better Way” tax revision plan that has the governor all riled up. If enacted, deducting state and local taxes in itemized federal filings would no longer be allowed.  In his judgement, this one change, will “increase most peoples’ tax burden between 30 and 40 percent, or some $4,500 per Long Island family.”

To counter he signed into law a “Shared Services Initiative Plan” that will require every city, town, village,  school and special education district in New York state to immediately form coalitions (panels) that will result in the consolidation of programs and services, and least you lack imagination, empower New Yorkers to control the cost of local government.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will be one of 62 county leaders chairing the panels being structured, in our case involving representatives from the cities of Glen Cove and Long Beach, the towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, and 64 incorporated villages, etc. all participating.

Three public hearings will be held next month with and the initial findings of the panel will be submitted to the Nassau County legislature by July 21st.  Additional hearings will be held prior to Sept. 15th, with a final plan due on Oct. 15th. A majority vote is required and each panel member is required to share how they reached their decision in writing. If governments can prove their plan created savings they will receive one-time matching funds from the state. Note: If none of the above works the same obligations and due dates apply in 2018.

As we all realize the road to you know where is lined with good intentions. I admit a high degree of skepticism. In 2011, Gov. Cuomo established a Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of every aspect of government operations, and suggested a “State Government Reorganization Act” be initiated, the results of which are still mystifying. Go figure.





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