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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Assessing blame on taxes in Nassau County

Nassau County Democrats have scheduled a news conference Monday to denounce Republican CE Edward Mangano for proposing tax assessment changes they say would hurt small business.

That criticism was first raised by Mangano’s hand-picked Assessment Review Team, a group of private citizens, many with expertise in tax assessment, who were drafted to recommend changes in tax assessment policies.

The panel turned on Mangano and criticized him in front of the county legislature last week for bypassing them and proposing changes they said were “an assault” on small business.

Mangano’s Republican allies on the legislature then turned on members of the Assessment Review Team, telling co-chairman Mark Hamer that he and his fellow panelists should have come to them, or they should have been more independent of Mangano.

Here’s Legis. John Ciotti (R-North Valley Stream,) the deputy presiding officer, at the May 17th hearing:

“You should be independent. You should be generating a report on what you investigated and what you understood or members of your assessment team ... This is what I’m talking about, what we’ve seen for 14 years: the blame game. If in fact, you did your investigation and you had your opinions and you wanted to render them, write them into a report. Nothing should be holding up.”

Hamer replied: “You know, John, if you follow the process, you expect others to follow the same process ... what you don’t believe is that process is going to be hijacked....I’m looking for the process to proceed under the path that was originally laid out.”

The presiding officer, Legis. Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) offered this:

“I think in understand your objections. I do not understand when members of the Assessment Review Team feel — in your words — that the process was hijacked, and yet no one has communicated with us until today. You don’t need to wait until a legislative meeting date at a public hearing on legislation to come up and share concerns on the direction that this process was going in. I would have liked to known two months ago. Maybe I could have helped you.”

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