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Letter: Thin excuse for Nassau tax break

Signs display Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's name

Signs display Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's name in Eisenhower Park July 23, 2014 in East Meadow. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County's Industrial Development Agency is prohibited from giving tax breaks to retailers, and yet it does just that with its "tourism exemption" ["Tax breaks draw gym," Business, Aug. 29].

How does the IDA intend to prove its claim that 2,000 gym members will come from outside Nassau to a new gym in Garden City, one of the few standards making it legal for the IDA to offer money to a retailer? Has the legal team for Nassau County actually vetted and approved this? If Life Time Fitness Inc. has a gym in Syosset, how can this one in Garden City draw 2,000 more people from outside of Nassau? Doesn't proximity to the first location have a bearing on whether the company is entitled to these tax breaks under this exemption?

On so many levels, the IDA's claims are ridiculous: To claim a "landlord-tenant" relationship because someone rents a locker defies common sense. This is grasping at straws to accomplish a project that is illegal based on IDA statutes. This is a property tax break for 20 years. Who is benefiting?

This situation needs much more oversight and investigation. The county does need to attract businesses, and tax breaks are a part of that package; however, it shouldn't be done at the expense of the taxpaying public when a business doesn't actually qualify.

Don't insult the intelligence of the voting public. Nassau County taxpayers are shouldering a heavy tax load, while our officials play God with our money.

Debra Gerrity, Bellmore