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Letters: Islip striving for budget transparency

I feel compelled to attempt to set the record straight regarding Newsday's editorial "Tax cap is real, so quit whining" [Oct. 1].

I am committed to do all I can to deliver a budget that lives within our "residents' means." I do have the courage of my convictions, which is precisely why the tentative budget I proposed is under the tax cap, with nary a whimper of complaint. And, to further clarify, I did not refuse to say how much the average taxpayer's bill will rise, as the editorial said. Rather, I told Newsday's reporter that there would be further cuts on the "tentative" budget before the "preliminary" budget is presented to the public on Oct. 13.

Then we will have a more accurate figure on the rise in the average tax bill. To suggest that this figure would not be made public until after the budget is adopted is disingenuous at best, and it's truly unfortunate that the editorial board chose to characterize that as a refusal.

I have since asked the town comptroller to do a calculation, and I'm advised that the figure is $20.13 for the year. But I hope it will be lower.

This is the most transparent budget presented to Islip taxpayers in decades, with more than 100 pages of narrative. I have encouraged all our commissioners and department heads to share the past year's accomplishments and present their goals, objectives and justification for the money they're requesting. Past budgets were nothing more than pages of numbers without explanation.

As Newsday so rightly states, budgets are sensitive and difficult, which is precisely why I have labored long and hard to produce a document that is transparent. We agree that our taxpayers deserve respect and consideration. I've said this many times in the past: They deserve nothing less.

Angie Carpenter, West Islip

Editor's note: The writer is the Islip Town supervisor.

Back up claims against Caithness II

PSEG Long Island's recent claim that the Caithness II project would raise electric rates by up to 6 percent is unsubstantiated nonsense ["Two power plays, two big disputes," News, Sept. 7].

If it's legitimate, where's the analysis to back it up? PSEG ignores the substantial savings Caithness II would produce by retiring old, inefficient plants that lose money and pollute the environment. It also ignores the considerable savings that would come from no longer relying on expensive off-island power.

Caithness II would save Long Island ratepayers millions of dollars by greatly reducing fuel costs, while producing much-needed jobs and economic support for communities. A comprehensive and transparent review of local energy resources would show this, but PSEG has refused to make its analyses public. Instead, the company plays fast and loose with the facts to cover up its failure to provide Long Islanders with affordable, reliable energy. The public has a right to know how PSEG is cooking up its half-baked assertions.

Dan Tomaszewski, Middle Island

Editor's note: The writer is a founding member of the Coalition for a Brighter Long Island and president of the Longwood school board, which would receive $13 million annually if the plant is built.

Ban VW from selling diesels in the U.S.

Articles about "defeat devices" in Volkswagen diesel cars pose many questions about cheating on mileage figures ["German prosecutors open probe into ex-Volkswagen CEO," News, Sept. 29]. But more important is the issue of health denied to millions of Americans and others around the world. Some reports claim the vehicles produced nitrogen oxide pollutants at up to 40 times the legal standard.

At least one thing should be done immediately. Volkswagen should be banned from selling diesel-powered autos in this country for five years.

Peter A. Rogers, Miller Place

Moderates should choose next speaker

The majority party in the House of Representatives elects the speaker ["Jockeying for House jobs," News, Sept. 30]. But today, it seems there are four parties in the House.

On the left are the Bernie Sanders Democrats and the moderate Democrats, while on the right there are the moderate Republicans and "the crazies," to use Rep. Peter King's terminology.

Moderate Democrats and Republicans should join together to elect a speaker. If this should happen, the government might function again and the extremes would be marginalized.

Joseph J. Malone, Syosset


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