From Newsday's Celeste Hadrick and Jo Napolitano: A state appeals court Wednesday rejected Nassau's attempt to shift the cost of property tax refunds to school districts and towns in a decision that could cost the county $80 million a year.
A four-judge Appellate Division panel unanimously ruled that Nassau's repeal of the "county guaranty" violates the New York Constitution and the state municipal Home Rule law, which limit the county's power to enact laws involving taxation.
Other Nassau Democrats eyeing higher office in November, as you might expect, also jumped on the decision as vindication of their criticism of the GOP’s fiscal stewardship.
Says former comptroller Howard Weitzman, a Democrat, who’s running again for the post this year: “The folly of trying to push tax refunds on the back of hard-pressed school taxpayers has now been exposed. Now that the fairy tale has been exploded, we have to face the hard reality.”
Weitzman argues that between the $70 million to $90 million a year added to the county’s budget gap by the decision and a court’s recent rejection of a county wage freeze, “this leaves the county on the doorstep of insolvency.”
Legis. Wayne Wink said: “Now that the courts have ruled, I hope the county focuses on the real issue, which is solving the problem of the assessment system, rather than just pawn it off on every other level of government, as they have for the past three years.”
From Democratic Legis. David Denenberg: “They just wasted taxpayer money… the schools said they were going to sue. They did… [County Attorney John] Ciampoli’s legal analysis, opinion and strategy is an utter failure. Under Mangano, the backlog of refund liability has grown to over $320 milion. It will be over $420 million next year. Now there is no end in sight. I have no doubt our bond rating will plummet.”