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Nassau lawmakers repeal unpopular home energy tax

Nassau lawmakers Monday voted to repeal the county's unpopular 2.5 percent home energy tax, an issue used by Republicans during last month's election to win control of the county Legislature and executive office.

Acting at the last meeting in which Democrats hold a majority on the Legislature, lawmakers voted 13-5 to repeal the tax, effective June 1.

Legislator Edward Mangano (R-Bethpage), who defeated County Executive Thomas Suozzi in part by campaigning against the tax, was absent for the vote.

Five Democratic legislators voted to repeal the tax that the 10-member Democratic majority imposed earlier this year at the urging of Suozzi. They included defeated Legis. Jeff Toback (D-Oceanside) and Legis. David Mejias (D-Farmingdale), who said he wanted to make sure Republicans keep their campaign promises.

Democrats who voted against repealing it, including Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) and defeated Legis. Roger Corbin (D-Westbury), said the $39 million raised by the tax is needed to provided services for people most in need such as the young and the elderly.

But Minority Leader Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), who is expected to become presiding officer next year, said Democrats still didn't understand. "It was a mistake when you did it. We campaigned on repealing it. The part you continue to miss is the people spoke by throwing out Suozzi and the Democratic majority," Schmitt said.

Republicans will have an 11-8 majority on the 19-member Legislature come Jan. 1.

The lame-duck Democratic majority also voted to approve 37 11th-hour appointments by Suozzi to various county boards and commissions. However, Corbin voted against eight nominees to the human rights commission and one nominee to the youth board, which killed those proposed appointments.

Republicans had said at the start that they would vote against all of Suozzi's appointments because the incoming county executive and Republican majority should make their own choices.

Corbin said he voted against the human rights commission appointees because some were on the commission when they voted to terminate former executive director of the Nassau County Human Rights Commission Renaire Frierson and the others "didn't stand up for her even though they had the facts I uncovered."

The Westbury Democrat maintained that the critical comptroller's audit used by the commission to fire Frierson was "fraudulent."

Legislators also unanimously approved a last-minute resolution authorizing the sale of a table containing an artifact from the old county courthouse to Suozzi for $5,000. Suozzi currently uses the glass-top table in his county office.

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