Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Assembly Passes Cuomo Consolidation Bill

Measure Now Goes To State Senate

Giving the people the means to consolidate, or even eliminate, those nasty, costly, special taxing districts moved closer to reality yesterday as the NYS Assembly voted, overwhelmingly (117-26), in favor of enabling legislation.

Here's how members of the Long Island delegation voted:

For the bill:
Phil Boyle (R-East Islip)
James Conte (R-Huntington Station)
Patricia Eddington (D-Medford)
Steven Englebright (D-Setauket)
Ginny Fields (D-Oakdale)
Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James)
Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead)
Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove)
Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood)
Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst)
Fred Thiele Jr. (R-Sag Harbor)

Against the bill:
Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham)
Thomas Alfano (R-North Valley Stream)
Robert Barra (R-Lynbrook)
David McDonough (R-Merrick)
Tom McKevitt (R-East Meadow)
Andrew Raia (R-Huntington)
Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa)
Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck)
Rob Walker (R-Hicksville)
Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach)

Hmmm. Do you mean to tell us that, other than special district commissioners and their patrons, there exists anyone on Long Island who opposes consolidation of those wasteful, inefficient special districts?

Talk about being out of touch with the people they represent.

We expected most members of "the party of 'No'" to vote against the measure, but Democrats like Harvey Weisenberg, Michelle Schimel, and Marc Alessi? And moderate GOPers such as Tom Alfano?

Shame, shame, shame on those who vote with the special interests of the special districts and for the status quo!

The bill now goes to the Senate, where, for most, voting "No" has become a passion.

Fellas, before you cast that vote, remember the folks who sent you to Albany in the first place. Beleive us, they're no fans of the special taxing districts.
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From Newsday Editorials:

Consolidation bill presents a choice - public or patronage?

Today's scheduled vote in the State Senate is a moment of truth for Long Islanders. Lawmakers in favor of the special districts consolidation bill will be demonstrating the courage to lead our region into a financially healthier future. Those who vote against it are giving in to political pressure - to mount opposition campaigns or otherwise threaten their political careers. They are perpetuating our high-tax misery.

Opponents say the consolidations won't save enough money. But every saved property-tax dollar is a step in the right direction. We must begin somewhere.

Long Island's willingness to tax itself to the brink of extinction is obvious in the inanity of 900 overlapping governmental units - including a fire hydrant rental district and an escalator district. Competing Great Neck sewer districts could halve a $63-million cost for plants if they worked together.

Any proposed amendment to the Senate bill that would remove fire districts from consolidation - backed by firefighters' groups that can't stand public scrutiny - is unacceptable. Failing to help the residents of the now-symbolic Gordon Heights Fire District would be wrong. And in any case, this attempted carve-out could be a maneuver to kill the bill - since it would make it incompatible with the version already passed by the Assembly.

Watch this one to see which elected officials stand for the future, and which for the excesses of the past.

Copyright © 2009, Newsday Inc.

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