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LI business group lists priorities for government investment, policy

Kevin Law, Long Island Association president, speaks at

Kevin Law, Long Island Association president, speaks at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville on Jan. 9, 2014. Credit: Ed Betz

More flights for Long Island MacArthur Airport, a new clean-water technology research center at Stony Brook University and greater investment in sewers and the Long Island Rail Road are among the top priorities of Long Island's largest business group.

The Long Island Association will release Wednesday its "top 15 priorities in 2015" at the annual membership meeting. The goals seek action by governments at the federal, state and local levels.

Many of the policy recommendations are aimed at getting "Long Island growing again" and tackling the demographic challenges that "we are getting older and losing our younger generation," the LIA said in a preamble to the list.

Some of the LIA goals will likely spark debate, such as the call for additional rental housing, reauthorization of a state-imposed property tax cap and a full state takeover of the Medicaid costs borne by counties.

The group also has endorsed the production of more alternative energy and a master plan for energy use in the region. It repeated its call for converting the former Shoreham nuclear power plant site to a cargo port or site for making solar panels and wind turbines.

Besides its 15 "top" priorities, the LIA outlined 54 others, including a proposed 2-percent cap on state spending.

LIA president Kevin Law said the group was determined to get back more of the tax dollars that local residents send to Albany and Washington, D.C. "to obtain the funds necessary to invest in our intellectual, physical and natural infrastructure that will allow our region to start growing again."

Long Island sends almost $28 billion more to the federal and state governments than it gets back, and that deficit is growing, the LIA said in a report last month.

Residents and businesses in Nassau and Suffolk counties paid $57.5 billion in taxes and fees to Washington and Albany in 2013 and received about $30 billion in government services, spending, pension checks and aid. That translated into the "balance of payments deficit" of nearly $28 billion.

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