Murray Tax "Freeze" Thaws Quickly As $113 Million "Bond Initiative" Is Proposed
When is a tax increase not a tax increase? Why, when it is foisted upon the taxpayer, both present and future, as a Bond Initiative. The State does it. Public Authorities do it. School and Library Districts do it all the time. And now, the Town of Hempstead is about to get in on the act. "Kate Murray promised you no increase in the taxes she controls, but she didn't say anything about not issuing a Bond - backed by the full faith and credit of, guess who? Town of Hempstead taxpayers!"
Kate Murray has released her 2006 Proposed Budget for the Town of Hempstead (which may be viewed online at http://www.toh.li/content/tb/budget.html), and no sooner do we hold it within earshot, we hear the Supervisor tell us:
“Under my proposed budget, residents will also be the beneficiaries of a major bond initiative which will provide for numerous road improvements, infrastructure enhancements and upgrades to town facilities.” (Tentative Town of Hempstead Budget, 2006)
Yes, to paraphrase Town Councilman Anthony Santino, "You will be taxed, and you will enjoy it!"
Geez, Kate. The ink on the proposed 2006 Budget is hardly dry, and already that pledge to "hold the line" is ringing rather hollow. Sure, we expected the tax increases in areas of the Town where you profess to have no control (i.e., the Town Sanitary Districts), and we await the drop of that anvil with baited breath, but a $113 million Bond issue to repair our roads? For what, dare we ask, did you use all those other hundreds of millions of dollars taxpayers poured into the Town Highway coffers over the years? Millions for patronage. Not one red cent for pothole repair!
We all read your lips, Kate. "No New Taxes." No, just the same old taxes, with higher rates. And a whole new way to empty the pockets of TOH residents - float a $113 million dollar Bond.
"Kate Murray is trying to pull the wool over taxpayers eyes by sneaking in a back door tax increase under the taxpayers radar," said Harvey Levinson, the man who would have Kate Murray's job come January '06, when the proposed Budget, if approved by the Town Board, would go into effect. "Who's ultimately going to pay for this additional bonding? Taxpayers! Kate Murray promised a tax freeze, and now she’s asking taxpayers to front a Bond issue of more than 100 million dollars.”
Ah, a tax by any other name would cut as deeply. Float a Bond. So now residents will not only have to pay back the principal, but future generations will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay off the interest.
“I am proud to be proposing an all-new $113 million bond initiative...," said Murray in the proposed Budget. "Our township remains vital, attractive and desirable because we have maintained and rebuilt our township while demonstrating the utmost respect for taxpayers.” (Tentative Town of Hempstead Budget, 2006)
"Proud to be" adding to our already horrendous tax burden? You bet! "Maintained and rebuilt our township?" What township is this? In the Town of Hempstead, the infrastructure is crumbling almost as fast as the roads are collapsing, and the "fix" is to patch it all up with haphazard development and irresponsible zoning.
Our Tax Statements have a separate line (read as "additional tax") for Town Highway Repair and Improvement. The amount of the levy on that line in 2005 alone was over $51 million dollars. [For 2006, the proposed Budget line for Highway/Roads is in excess of $58 million. So much for "holding the line!"] Have you seen any repair or improvement on the roads of Hempstead Town? And now, Supervisor Murray has the nerve to call for a $113 million dollar Bond initiative, the real cost of which shall likely exceed $175 million! That, Ms. Murray, does not demonstrate "the utmost respect for taxpayers."
Folks, if it walks like a tax, talks like a tax, and bleeds our bank accounts dry like a tax, guess what? It is a tax! Call it a Bond, and continue the tradition of "why pay for what we can't afford today, when we can place the debt on the back of tomorrow's taxpayers?"
In presenting her proposed 2006 Budget, Kate Murray fails to cut a single patronage position, yet writes, “government needs to tighten its belt just as families have.”
“The truth is that Kate’s asking other families to further tighten their belts so her own family and political cronies don’t have to," quipped Harvey Levinson. "It’s not fair to overtax Hempstead families so that she can keep the Republican Party political bosses happy.”
No, Harvey, its not fair to any of Hempstead Town's families - be they Republicans, Democrats or Independents - unless, of course, they happen to be on payroll.
We wonder what those nice folks from the Kate Murray TV spot (the seniors at the kitchen table rolling their coins, and their eyes) would have to say about the Town of Hempstead's Bond Initiative. "Look who's floating a Bond and raising our taxes -- again. Kate Murray, Town Supervisor."
- - -
A hearing on the 2006 proposed Budget will take place before the Town Board at a Public Meeting on Thursday, October 20 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Town Hall Plaza in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavillion. Town Hall is located at 1 Washington Street in Hempstead.