The new Amazon warehouse at the former Cerro Wire site in...

The new Amazon warehouse at the former Cerro Wire site in Syosset. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Tax perks? Amazon still benefits area

Newsday’s editorial on industrial development authority tax breaks given to big companies ignores some important facts about the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency’s project with Amazon at the former Cerro Wire site [“Tax giveaways hurt residents,” Editorial, June 12].

The Cerro Wire property in Syosset was a contaminated, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-designated brownfield site that had sat vacant for decades. Numerous projects had been proposed at this location over the years, but none gained traction — leaving the property an underutilized, highly visible blight in the community.

Amazon committed to a $72 million investment that not only cleaned up the site but would create more than 200 full-time and part-time jobs and more than 125 construction jobs. The vacant parcel was generating about $1 million in property taxes.

Even with the Nassau IDA benefits, the property will now generate an average of more than $1.9 million in taxes each year — an increase in tax revenue of $12.4 million over the course of the 15-year pilot. This means more revenue for the county, town and school district on day one.

How is it possible for this reality to be misconstrued as being bad for taxpayers?

 — Richard Kessel, Merrick

The writer is chairman of the Nassau County IDA.

Put restrictions on new teen drivers

Newly licensed teenage drivers may need to have some restrictions placed on them when driving for the first year [“Girl, 17, killed in car crash,” News, June 17]. They need to gain more experience in that first year. For example, no friends would be allowed in the car.

The lack of experience, the distractions of friends and music, and that new fun feeling of freedom could give some teens a false sense of their ability to drive defensively.

Any of these situations could lead to unimaginable dire consequences.

 — Carol Ludwig, Wantagh

The writer is a retired teacher who also taught driver education.

Assange attorney’s remark disquieting

Barry Pollack, the U.S. defense lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, states that the British extradition order that would bring Assange back to the United States to face spying charges was “disappointing news that should concern anyone who cares about the First Amendment and the right to publish” [“WikiLeak’s Assange ordered extradited to U.S.,” News, June 18].

Pollack’s denial of an individual’s responsibility to protect innocent lives is disquieting. His position does not allow for any government to withhold from the public facts that would be injurious to its citizens, particularly in the sphere of the military. We count on our military to reduce rather than enhance the vulnerabilities of its citizenry. Assange, while a Swedish citizen, knowingly committed a crime against the U.S. government and its people. His foreign citizenship does not excuse his recklessness.

One can only hope that the extradition process in this case is accelerated to bring Assange back to be punished for his transgressions if found guilty.

 — Stan Feinberg, Wantagh

Suspending federal gas tax a bad idea

President Joe Biden is contemplating a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax as a means to reduce the price which is now averaging more than $5 per gallon nationally and growing weekly [“Biden to visit Saudi Arabia next month,” News, June 15]. This makes no sense in the long run.

It reminds me of the emperor during the decline of ancient Rome. He would offer the masses free bread and circuses to placate them. Biden fails to explain how Washington would deal with less money going to the Highway Trust Fund. This is a critical source of funding for highway and transit projects.

A federal gas tax holiday would result in Uncle Sam not collecting 18 cents for every gallon of gas purchased. The Highway Trust Fund already faces financial difficulties.

Congress would have to decide how to make up for the lost dollars. It will raise other taxes, transfer revenue from another source, borrow more (raising our growing $30 trillion national debt) or reduce the scope or number of transportation-funded projects.

In the end, both motorists and transit riders will be the losers if federal gasoline taxes are temporarily suspended.

 — Larry Penner, Great Neck

High mortgage rates matter of perspective

With the average U.S. interest rate on fixed 30-year mortgages hitting 5.78%, the screams of anguish can be heard on the moon [“Mortgage rates rise steeply,” News, June 17].

But 55 or so years ago, when I was paying 7.25% interest on the mortgage of my first house, not a scream, not a gasp, not a moan could be heard from new homeowners. It’s a matter of perspective.

 — Thomas W. Smith, Riverhead

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