News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
Long Beach bailout bill stalls, but not because of NYC controversy
The City of Long Beach’s request to borrow millions of dollars to address its financial woes stalled temporarily Tuesday -- but it’s not linked to the controversy over New York City’s request to raise its own taxes, officials said.
The Nassau County community has been before the state Legislature twice in recent years seeking authority to issue up to $12 million in bonds to help cover superstorm Sandy recovery costs, among other things. Last year, the Legislature approved the request -- but too late for the city to actually issue the bonds, thanks to wording errors.
So the city is back again this year; the bill is sponsored, once again, by Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach).
It was on the Senate debate list for Tuesday, and then Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) asked for it to be set aside, momentarily postponing it -- raising some questions around the State Capitol.
Earlier this week, another Democrat temporarily halted a request by Ulster County to raise its own sales tax rate to make a point about New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request to raise taxes on wealthy city residents to pay for expansion of prekindergarten. In light of opposition to the tax by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Senate Republicans, Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) said the Legislature shouldn’t block any municipality’s request to adjust its own taxes.
Klein’s action prompted speculation that other local requests would be held up.
Stavisky said in an interview she had no such thing in mind. She said she merely had questions about Long Beach’s finances and the use of the money.
Senate Republicans who control the chamber could have taken up Stavisky's questions Tuesday, but declined because some members were attending other legislative hearings, a spokesman said.