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Newsday letters to the editor for Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

The Nassau County Department of Assessment in Mineola.

The Nassau County Department of Assessment in Mineola. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Here comes lots more federal debt

You might assume that creating a multi-billion-dollar budget would be a very deliberate, deeply thought-out process [“Deficit hawk Paul stalls budget vote,” News, Feb. 9].

So it’s really remarkable to watch people we elected ram through a fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation.

In response to a jolly tax cut that gives generous benefits to a rather healthy and thriving corporate America, while dribbling down a highly touted break to working Americans — remember the school secretary with an extra $1.50 per week in her paycheck, a story shared by House Speaker Paul Ryan? — this lowers government revenue drastically.

This during a rather healthy economy with low employment. To complement the stupidity, we are adding trillions of dollars in debt. This will create a short-term benefit if the stock market doesn’t collapse. But the next phase will be Ryan’s sudden return to fiscal conservatism. Then the plea will start for drastic cuts to Social Security and Medicaid.

Bravo, and apologies to the generations that will surely inherit this mess.

Robert Gobright, Sag Harbor

Blue state leaders had no ideas to help

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is doing New Yorkers a terrible disservice. He is too focused on taking maximum political advantage of the recent federal tax reform instead of working to reduce state spending [“Cuomo seeks ‘fairness,’ ” News, Feb. 9].

New York, like other blue states, has surrendered its state budget to public service unions and discouraged new business investment with regulations and taxes. If blue state elected officials had come to the bargaining table with real ideas for tax reform and economic growth, New Yorkers could have gotten a better deal.

Chris Dillon, Centerport

Fix an injustice of tax grievance process

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said there is a “continued public education campaign to show homeowners how to represent themselves when filing assessment challenges, instead of relying on tax grievance firms” [“More time to challenge Nassau property tax,” News, Feb. 8]. She also said, “We want to level the playing field.”

As well-intentioned as these statements might be, they are misleading. I personally grieved my assessed value for years with little success, and then switched to using a firm to do so. I promptly started getting reductions every year.

The difference is that the firms have access to a negotiation process that is denied to individual filers.

To quote your April 16, 2015, news story “New system profits firms”: “The large firms can have tens of thousands of cases, and bringing them all to Small Claims Assessment Review court would require county staff to defend them and could result in millions of dollars in refunds. To avoid that outcome, the county’s Assessment Review Commission exchanges larger and larger offers with the firms until enough of the cases are settled.”

There is a way to empower individual filers by fully integrating each tax grievance that has been awarded, so that they are searchable. This would tend to correct the injustices.

Peter Salamon, Plainview

Don’t blame all immigrants for crime

White House chief of staff John Kelly was harsh, horrible, highly insensitive and racially offensive when he suggested that immigrants here illegally who did not sign up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program were “too afraid” or “too lazy.”

Kelly’s racist rhetoric added major insult to injury in the tense debate over DACA and those with temporary protected status. As President Donald Trump’s senseless March 5 deadline approaches, a bipartisan deal to prevent DACA and TPS people from being deported, and which provides a pathway to citizenship, must be accomplished.

This must be done through bipartisanship in Congress and finalized with Trump’s signature. Breaking up immigrant families is racist and classist behavior reminiscent of the evil days of slavery.

Using out-of-control and violent MS-13 gang members as an excuse to harshly push against immigration and immigrants is not the answer. All blacks are not in the Bloods or the Crips, all whites are not in the Ku Klux Klan, all Muslims are not terrorists. All politicians who don’t stand up and clap for Trump are not treasonous, and all immigrants are not members of MS-13. Don’t get it twisted.

The Rev. Arthur L. Mackey Jr., Roosevelt