Politicians seeking election or re-election to public office often mail fliers to homeowners informing them of what they intend to do if elected. Incumbents also sing the praises of their accomplishments and urge voters to allow them to continue their mission.
Senator Anna Kaplan went this route when her office mailed out one such flyer to Westbury residents highlighting what she has done for the community and asked voters to re-elect her. One of the things she pointed out is that she delivered $66 million for the Westbury School District, an increase of 19 percent over last year, allowing the district to cut property taxes for Westbury residents for the first time in decades.
I am certainly not disputing the claim that she delivered $66 million to the district, but the cut in property taxes is certainly not the case for all residents. I for one have seen an increase in my property taxes, as is the case with several of my neighbors that I spoke with. I would not be surprised if Senator Kaplan already knows that there would not be an across-the-board decrease in property taxes for everyone because that’s not how the system works. She should know that the money must come from somewhere to address the shortfall created by people who grieve their taxes or those filing for STAR exemption etcetera; taking from Peter to pay Paul so to speak.
This is especially so in Nassau County, where there are so many special districts that are responsible for all property taxes and assessed revenues. These special taxing districts (fire, water, sewer, library) are features of suburban growth and the homeowner’s total tax bill is derived by multiplying each district tax rate times the assessed value of the property. Across-the-board decrease in property tax is possible if there is an influx of new businesses into the area thereby broadening the tax base, or by consolidating these special districts along practical lines such as purchasing etc. thereby reducing the cost of services provided to the community.
I am hoping this will be a challenge Senator Kaplan is willing to embark on thereby providing some degree of equity to the taxpayers of Westbury.