Friday, October 01, 2010

Where's The Tax Revolt?

From Tea Party To Tax Revolt, Labels Rarely Impact Bottom Line

With many elected officials and candidates for office running as "reformers", its refreshing to see that the Tax Revolt Party, started right here in Nassau County, is garnering its share of candidates to run under its banner.

Ah, tax revolt. Much better than simply dumping tea into Hempstead Harbor. Cutting expenses. Slashing government spending. Passing along those savings to John Q. Public by way of lower taxes.

So, just where is this tax revolt?

Ed Mangano, County Executive, presumably by reason of the misguided votes counted on the Tax Revolt line, is chief cook and bottle washer in Nassau, as well as at the Tax Revolt Party. And we support him in his revolutionary zeal (if one could call simply mouthing the words "tax revolt" as zeal). But seriously, Ed, where is the tax revolt?

County taxes account for roughly 18% of the total property tax bill. The balance (and a hefty one it is) -- Town and Special District (the Town by any other name) taxes: 20%; Library Taxes: 5%; School taxes (are you sitting down?): 57%. [Your mileage, not to mention tax rates, may vary.]

Where's the tax revolt?

Even if Mr. Mangano holds the line on County property taxes [and by the way, keeping the status quo is not, by any definition, a revolt], neither he nor the Tax Revolt Party he leads has one iota of control over Town taxes (or, apparently, anything else that goes on in the Town, at least Hempstead Town), and certainly, no control over the still skyrocketing School District taxes.

Where are the Tax Revolt candidates for School Board?

Even assuming, arguendo, that the Tax Revolt candidates (Republicans all, not that it matters much) are sent to Albany -- or returned, being that the Tax Revolt candidates from Long Island include incumbents and insiders -- what will change?

Ed Koch's Heroes of Reform include elected officials who have held office for a generation or more. Who doesn't want to be a hero, after all? And everyone, even the fixtures of Albany, claims to be a reformer these days.

The State Senate has demonstrated that, whether Democrats or GOPers hold the reins, nothing happens. Power plays. Coups. Gaveling in and gaveling out. The only productivity, if you could call it that, being the invocation.

The Assembly, marching lock-step under Sheldon Silver (neither hero of reform nor tax revolutionary be he), is held hostage by the whims of a single member, elected only by the voters of one Manhattan Assembly District?

Where's the reform? Where's the tax revolt?

Elect every so-called reformer and every Sarah Palin-loving Tea Party activist/Tax Revolt Party-endorsed candidate, and, dollars to donuts (and, friends, that's what donuts will cost), come the next election, the bottom line on your property tax bill will have gone nowhere -- but up.

We don't much like labels here at The Community Alliance. Indeed, we despise the labeling of anyone as "too liberal", "too conservative," or "too anything." It's a non-starter. The incumbents have their records to run on, most of which run counter to the labels they covet and seek cover under. The challengers, well, they make promises, but do any of us hold them to it?  As for the labels? We repeat, where's the reform? And where the heck is the tax revolt?

The November election is but a month and a few days away. Throw the bums out? Put the reformers in (even those whom we could count among the bums we would so readily throw out)? Out with the old, in with the new? Or was that in with the old?

Maybe the indifferent and the apathetic -- the folks we blame for that which we can't (or won't) hold Albany or Washington accountable  -- have the right idea when they fail to show at the polls. After all, take a look at the candidates being offered up for our consideration. Then ask, what have any of them really changed (underwear aside)?

Where's the reform? Where is the Tea Party? And where in the name of all the tea in Boston harbor, and the certainty of death and taxes, other than on lawn signs and placards plastered across fences that cordon off abandoned brownfields, is the tax revolt?


  1. Unfortunately, all your points are well-taken and reflect a pessimistic but nevertheless realistic view of the current political landscape on Long Island. Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, I keep looking for someone I can believe in. Meanwhile, I am at best uninspired by everyone who "represents" me.

    When it comes to county, town and other local governments, quite often the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans are not all that huge. Regardless of party, what people really want is quality municipal services without getting ripped-off. And yet we can't seem to get that on Long Island.

    Aside from holding office-holders accountable, I think the guys who really ought to be called on the carpet are Mondello and Jacobs. We have one party, the Republicans, which holds the vast majority of local offices and which, by design, dedicates itself to supporting a vast patronage machine designed to perpetuate its own power. We have another party, the Democrats, which can barely mount an effective opposition in most local contests. The result is costly and ineffective government. This is why so-called "fringe" movements like the Tea Party get going.

    I'm sick of this: as voters we deserve a higher caliber of public official and a higher caliber of candidates. I'm not saying that there aren't some out there, but their numbers are simply overwhelmed by career party hacks dedicated to maintaining an untenable status quo. Meantime, the taxpayers be damned.

    I'd sure like to see either Jacobs or Mondello show up on this blog and explain themselves. As far as I'm concerned, their performance in service to the voters of this County has been indefensible.

  2. You're right. I haven't seen any tax revolt from Mangano, and he's 10 months into office. I think we should have seen some sort of program to save some serious cash by now. What he's proposed borders on the tangential at best. Where's the big idea like consolidating all the back office administrations at all 55 school districts in Nassau County into 1. Or how about consolidating all those sanitation districts into 1. Doesn't most of our garbage go to Covanta anyway?

    Maybe the revolt will be in the school tax bills we're going to receive in a few days. I can't wait to open mine up and see what it says!