Murray, Seniors Mull Money Woes
Remember those poor seniors in the Kate Murray TV spot? You know -- the folks rolling the pennies at the kitchen table, moaning and groaning how their property taxes have increased because of the reassessment, and, naturally, blaming everything from Hurricane Katrina to Athlete's Foot on Tax Assessor, Harvey Levinson.
Well, times have gotten soooo bad for Mr. & Mrs. Irate Taxpayer that they've had to gulp down the Geritol, leave the 1% under the mattress, and venture out with their trusty lawn mower to Kate Murray's humble abode just to make an extra buck or two to cover "HARVEY LEVINSON'S PROPERTY TAX!"
Good old Kate Murray. She cares. Offering a helping handout to her less well off neighbors. "Folks, I understand how tough times are. Tax Assessor, Harvey Levinson, has ruined things for all of us. Here's a chance for you to help yourselves, just like we do at Town Hall. Mow, rake, till, and I'll give you each five bucks, some lukewarm lemonade, and a Kate Murray Bumper Sticker." [Of course, Kate's Brother, a Physical Conditioner on the payroll of Town Parks, will Supervise the lawn maintenance -- from the beach.]
Not only an honest day's pay from Kate, but take a gander at that brand new Craftsman mower. Never used. Probably has no gas in it. Aw, but these good seniors should really have a riding mower, Kate, don't you think?
And do you see the clothes these people are wearing? Looks more like an evening out for dinner and a show than the garb of a grass grabber. Mowing the lawn in biege/tan pants and your Sunday-best shoes? Sure, you have to keep up with the Kates in Levittown, but this is ridiculous!
And, pray tell, why have Mr. & Mrs. Irate Taxpayer come out in their prim and proper, the shine still on the Craftsman, to mow a lawn that has already been cut -- and obviously, by somebody else? Day Laborers, breathe a sigh of relief. Your jobs are safe in Hempstead Town!
Sure, Harvey Levinson has ruined it for all of us -- well, at least for the insiders at Town Hall. He's exposed the failures on the Code Enforcement front, which have allowed the scourge of illegal apartments to metastasize. He's brought to light the inequities of the Special Districts, those semi-independent taxing jurisdictions that pick our pockets and laugh in our faces. He's rattled conventional wisdom by suggesting, for consideration and study, that a regressive property tax, one that threatens to drown every homeowner in debt, be replaced by a nominal income tax. He's uncovered what most of us already knew. That friends, family and party faithful have their hands in the cookie jar at Town Hall, costing taxpayers upwards of $36 million per year. Yup, Harvey Levinson has ruined it for all of us. The party is over!
But enough about Tax Assessor, Harvey Levinson. [If you want the truth about the reassessment and why your taxes have gone up, read Harvey Levinson's Income Tax versus Kate Murray's Property Tax.] Let's get back to Mr. & Mrs. Irate Taxpayer.
Tell us, Mr. & Mrs. T, exactly where do you reside? Give us your Section, Lot and Block numbers so we can go down to the Assessor's office and check the tax rolls. Let's track the change in your Assessed Value from the days before court ordered reassessment, when the GOP Assessors were content to let the system slide into the abyss, to the bungled ventures of Charlie O'Shea (who did for the reassessment process what Michael Brown did for FEMA), to Harvey Levinson's bold initiatives to straighten out this sloppy mess.
We're sure, in examining the record, we would find that it is neither Tax Assessor, Harvey Levinson, nor the reassessment, that has caused your taxes to skyrocket. Nope. Its the increase in the TAX RATES. Some, necessarily, by the County -- to get us out of the fiscal quagmire the Nassau County GOP got us into -- some, under guise of "holding the line," by the Town and the Town's Special Districts, and the bulk by the School Districts.
And what of the brand new Craftsman mower, the fancy duds, and this impromptu photo op with Supervisor Murray? Well, some will say its simply the softer side of Sears. Others, with whom we concur, call it staged!
Staged - like the throng from Sanitary District 6 at the Franklin Square Public Library, who barked down a public official and scoffed at his right to free speech in a public forum.
Staged - like the ads touting Greg Peterson as being "fiscally responsible," when, back in the day, before there was a County Legislature, Greg Peterson, as the Town of Hempstead's Presiding Supervisor, sat on the Nassau County Board of Supervisors, side-by-side with Tom Gulotta, rubber-stamping those "borrow and spend" County budgets, actively participating in the County's financial downfall.
Staged - Like the made-for-television, Crazy Eddie is alive and well TVads, that supplant fact with fiction.
Staged - Like Kate Murray telling us that the Town has "held the line" on taxes, while raising taxes again and again, including that 12.8% increase in 2005.
Mr. & Mrs. T. are looking good in their Sears' best, rolling those coins, checking out the Craftsman, weaving a tale of woe that places blame on all but those who are responsible. Kate Murray's lawn is looking good, the grubs apparently content to suck us dry at Town Hall, where the cleansing light of day is shuttered out by one party rule. And Kate herself is looking good, still smiling for the camera, making nice with her neighbors, and painting a picture of a perfect Hempstead Town.
Yes, all is well at Town Hall. The grass is green, the beds are turned and edged, and the weeds are kept a bay. It is just beyond Town Hall's white picket fence, that green grass beckons brownfields, neat beds turn the corner to reveal garish Main Streets, and the weeds are free to frolic along the sidewalks.