Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Republican State Senate candidate Elaine Phillips has released a plan to allow Nassau County to seniors reduce their property tax bills by doubling exemptions on pension income and freezing their school tax bills.

Phillips’ “Senior Savings Plan” calls for new legislation that would prevent residents who are at least 70 years old from seeing any annual increase in their school tax bills. The state, Phillips said, would reimburse districts for any increase in tax rates through a plan similar to the state School Tax Relief Program.

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The plan also calls for doubling the exemption on pension income of up to $40,000, doubling the dependent care credit for families who provide care for a child or an aging relative and restoring enhanced STAR “instant” rebates. Recent changes to the STAR property tax relief program, she said, have prevented seniors who recently purchased their homes from receiving an instant reduction on their school tax bill, forcing them to wait for a rebate check from Albany,

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“For the more than 287,000 Nassau County seniors who’ve spent their lives helping to build Long Island, being able to afford to live here during their retirements has become a mighty struggle,” said Phillips, mayor of the Village of Flower Hill. “With this plan, we will help more seniors stay in their homes and enjoy their years in the communities they love.”

Meanwhile, Phillips’s Democratic opponent for the open 7th Senate District seat, businessman and Roslyn School board member Adam Haber, is touting new endorsements from Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women and the 250,000-member Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

“We stand with him, because he stands with working families,” said federation president John Durso. “We are confident as a movement that Adam shares our vision of an economy with good jobs, decent pay and benefits, and a future that maintains all of the key ingredients for the basis of a middle class lifestyle.”

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Haber said he was “committed to bringing real leadership to Albany to fight for meaningful tax relief for Long Island’s working families, support common-sense gun control to keep our communities safe, root out corruption and ensure that we get our fair share of education funding.”

Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women announced endorsements of Haber, citing his support for equal pay and protecting abortion rights.

Phillips this week also began airing a new 30-second TV spot titled “High Taxes are Driving People Away,” in which she suggests that the high cost of living in Nassau is pricing out young people.

“As mayor, I cut property taxes so people could keep more of their hard-earned money,” Phillips says in the ad. “In Albany, I’ll fight for more jobs, less taxes, and Long Island’s fair share of school funding. If you want to raise your family here, you should be able to.”

Phillips and Haber are vying to replace Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury), who is vacating the seat to run for Congress.