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Republicans propose $120 million in Nassau property tax cuts

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran looks over the

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran looks over the 2022 budget proposal in her Mineola office on Sept. 14. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Republicans in the Nassau County Legislature on Tuesday proposed property tax cuts totaling $120 million in 2022, and elimination of positions on Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's public relations staff and the salaries of several of her political appointees.

The initiatives by the GOP majority came in amendments to Curran's $3.5 billion budget proposal for 2022.

The GOP proposal comes nearly a month after Curran proposed a $70 million cut in the property tax levy.

Curran proposed lowering the tax levy by a total of $150 million through 2025.

The Republican plan would cut seven positions from Curran's public relations staff, along with deputy county executive positions in constituent affairs and finance department.

The Republican amendments would eliminate real estate and red light camera fees that generate $100 million in annual county revenue.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said Nassau could afford more of a tax cut tax than Curran proposed because of stronger than expected sales tax revenues.

"We have identified the revenues and the cuts to make this a balanced plan," Nicolello told Newsday in an interview.

"Primarily, we've been taking part of the surplus that has been accumulated and returning it to the taxpayers in the form of a tax cut," he said.

The GOP plan also allocates $450,000 for a countywide rodent extermination program.

Curran spokesman Mike Fricchione said Curran had, "proposed a thoughtful, balanced budget that delivers significant tax relief to every resident hard-hit by the pandemic, not the same old political talking points based on made-up revenue projections that the majority and [former Republican County Executive] Ed Mangano used to drive our county’s finances into the ground."

The full county legislature is expected to vote on Curran's 2022 spending plan on Monday, Republican spokesman Chris Boyle said.

Curran has the power to veto any legislative amendments, although legislators could attempt an override.

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the county's financial control board, also must approve the county budget.

Curran is seeking reelection on Nov. 2 against Republican Bruce Blakeman, a member of the Hempstead Town Council.

Blakeman on Tuesday praised the proposed $120 million tax cut.

"There should be a $120 million tax cut, and there is a basis for that," Blakeman told Newsday.

Asked if he would agree to cutting the seven public relations positions if he were county executive, Blakeman said: "Yes."

William Biamonte, chief of staff for legislative Democrats, said in a statement the Republican amendments were, "stuffed with highly questionable revenue projections and blatant political stunts ... We remain convinced that County Executive Curran's proposal offers a balanced and fiscally responsible approach for delivering relief to taxpayers who have been hit hard by the pandemic."

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