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‘Nassovians,’ New Yorkers


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Daily Point

Meeting Pete and Liuba in CD2

For only the second time this campaign, Peter King and challenger Liuba Grechen Shirley shared a stage Wednesday night.

The “meet the candidates” event at Sycamore Avenue Elementary School, hosted by the Islip Civic Coalition, drew out many of the same differences in style and substance between the opponents. Grechen Shirley, Democrat of Amityville, talked about the high cost of health care and the student loans that she is still paying. King stayed in his rhetorical comfort zone and railed against “political correctness” and potential terror threats to the United States, saying, “We have an enemy that wants to kill us. I want to kill them before they kill us.”

The Seaford Republican also picked up on a national and state Republican theme: that progressive-leaning Democrats are looking to create a high-tax utopia/hellscape.

The shorthand for this was “Europe,” as in, “I don’t want to become like Europe. I don’t want a socialist country like Europe. I don’t want us to have high taxation.”

King repeated the word “Europe” at least five times, presumably evoking the generous social safety nets and high taxes in places like Europe’s Nordic countries.

Grechen Shirley, for her part, characterized the Republican tax bill as a break for high-earners.

King and Grechen Shirley found some agreement on local issues. When asked about how to stop a drain of young people from Long Island, King said that downtown rezonings were necessary in places like Baldwin, Wyandanch and Patchogue, places in and out of his district where rezonings are in various degrees of progress.

He cited the need for more multifamily and affordable housing, and Grechen Shirley made her own call for affordable housing.

“The reality is that we have to realize that Long Island has changed,” King said.

Mark Chiusano

Reference Point

From the archives: Nassovians past and present

Numerous candidates in this year’s election have told Newsday’s editorial board during endorsement interviews that when they knock on doors in their districts, residents are more interested in talking about what’s going on in Washington than about local matters.

So it was interesting to find that one of our ancestral editorial boards started an editorial on Oct. 19, 1944, in the same vein.

“It is hard to think of local problems when we are in the midst of the bitterest war and the toughest political campaign in the history of this country,” the board wrote, referring to World War II and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s campaign for a fourth term.

The board’s lament involved not enough attention among voters about the future of Nassau given the fragmented nature of government in the county.

“We are speaking of the unfortunate fact that Nassovians” — yes, that was a word back then — “are not pulling together. Instead of thinking of the good of the county as a whole too many of us are inclined to think only of the particular community in which we live,” the board opined.

Sound familiar?

The lightning rod was the pending formation of a county planning commission that would produce a master plan for the development of Nassau in its entirety. The board noted the county’s 63 villages (at that time), three towns, two cities and their separate zoning powers, and said a planning commission “would give us a more orderly control of the various overlapping agencies which are sapping our energies and hurting our pocketbooks.”

To support the need to plan for a county sewer system, an integrated system of county roads, public utility systems and the like, the board cited the county Department of Health. Formed in 1938, it replaced 68 independent health departments. The cost for the villages, the board said, was “enormous.” Departments often worked at cross purposes on problems like a spreading communicable disease. After the consolidation, the board wrote, per capita health costs plunged.

The editorial board was not alone in recognizing that Long Island’s population would grow rapidly after the war, magnifying these kinds of problems:

“Unless we make provision to take care of these people under a master plan which envisages the problem of housing and zoning and living as a whole we will find that like certain parts of greater New York City our county will lose its beauty, its charm, its gracious way of life.”

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

The king

Pointing Out

Actually . . .

New Yorkers gnashing their teeth over a report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli that says the state gets back in federal spending only 90 percent of the money it sends to Washington actually ought to be a lot more upset than that number implies.

The real number is 72 cents for every dollar, once deficit spending is taken into consideration. Put another way: Yes, New York got back 90 cents for every dollar sent in the fiscal year that ended in September 2017, but the average state got $1.19 back for every dollar it shuffled off to Washington. How is that possible? The government spent $665 billion it didn’t collect from any state, but simply borrowed.

What’s being stressed from DiNapoli’s report is that New York paid $249.7 billion in various taxes and other revenue generators and got back $225.7 billion in various payments and services. That implies New York was shorted $24 billion.

But that compares both numbers as a percentage of the $3.316 trillion the government took in, when the amount New York got back is better looked at as a percentage of the total the federal government spent, including what it borrowed.

On that basis, New York was shorted not the $25 billion making headlines, but $85 billion, and much of that difference will be felt in the future as New Yorkers are forced to pony up to repay this federal borrowing it isn’t seeing a penny from.

And stay tuned for 2018 numbers, once the new $10,000 limit on federal deductions for state and local taxes becomes part of the equation. Between that and a federal deficit that jumped 17 percent in 2018 to $779 billion to pay for spending elsewhere, New York likely got an even smaller slice of the growing pie it paid even more to bake.

Lane Filler