Letter: Albany's right about Long Beach
I disagree with your recent editorial on the solution to the fiscal challenges facing the City of Long Beach ["Skelos let Long Beach down," July 11].
Readers should be troubled by your unconditional support for the Long Beach proposal to borrow to pay off its entire operating deficit. That's bad budgeting, and if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and I had produced a state budget that did likewise, you would have rightly called us on it.
Our Republican conference, which was instrumental in eliminating a $14 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, and in reducing spending two years in a row, has been remarkably consistent. We opposed every other municipality's call to pass similar borrowing legislation, including that of Rockland County, which has a Republican county executive. In addition, we turned down all requests from counties to increase local sales taxes.
People have had it with high taxes, and they want government to be more efficient.
Despite what your editorial states, we went out of our way to help Long Beach. We were in near-constant communication with officials there, in an effort to find a real, long-term solution.
In fact, before we adjourned our legislative session in June, the Senate and Assembly approved a bill allowing Long Beach to amortize its early retirement expenses. The legislation, which was welcomed by the city manager and others, will save taxpayers at least $6 million over the next five years.
Long Islanders want us to work together to deliver bipartisan results, something Senate Republicans and the Democratic governor have done with great success. But, they also want us to get federal, state and local budgets under control by reducing spending.
Your editorial page can disagree with me on the issues; that is your right. However, in my 28 years representing Nassau County in the State Senate, the most recent years as the chamber's majority leader, I have never stopped working to assist the local governments, taxpayers and citizens I represent. And, I never will.
Editor's note: The writer is the State Senate majority leader.