Bruce Blakeman and Laura Curran vie for the Nassau County executive | Herald Community Newspapers
Democratic incumbent Laura Curran is running for her second four-term county leadership. His Republican opponent is Bruce Blakeman, city councilor for the town of Hempstead. The Herald asked candidates three relevant questions to get their perspective on the issues.
Herald: Nassau is one of the three counties that pay the highest average property taxes in the state. What is your plan to help reduce the tax burden?
Curran: As working families in Nassau know, you can’t get far without a balanced budget. Before I took office, decades of unnecessary corruption and reckless mismanagement plagued our county. I am proud that, through stubborn fiscal discipline, my administration turned budget deficits into surpluses.
Families in Nassau deserve to know that their hard-earned money is being spent responsibly. That’s why I dedicated my first term to cleaning up the mess left by others and bringing real accountability to government:
I have presented four balanced budgets and consecutive budget surpluses; secured the first Nassau bond upgrade in over a decade; stayed the course on property taxes and proposed a responsible tax cut of $ 70 million for 2022 and a tax cut of $ 150 million over the next four years.
As Nassau continues the economic recovery from Covid, I am also proud to say that we are in a position to return the US bailout dollars back to taxpayers. With our books balanced, I make $ 375 in direct cash payments to over 400,000 households. I have worked hard to earn the trust of Nassau taxpayers, and I will continue to seek tax breaks, like my tax cut, without sacrificing our future fiscal stability.
Blakeman: Laura Curran’s reassessment crushes families and seniors with higher property taxes. School tax bills arrive home in October, and just like last year, property taxes will skyrocket for an overwhelming majority of homeowners due to Curran’s reassessment. As your property taxes go up, Laura Curran’s taxes go down [decreased by $255].
For the majority of homeowners, Curran’s tax hikes continue for another three years, unless you stop it on election day. I believe it is wrong for Laura Curran to raise county property taxes to the highest level ever in Nassau history while generating millions of surplus funds.
As the county executive, I will end the reassessment of Curran and reduce taxes. The government should never collect more than it needs to function. My plan cuts property taxes by over $ 128 million – that’s $ 58 million more than Laura Curran is willing to give – and I’ll pay for this tax cut by giving back the entire county budget surplus. from Nassau to residents.
I will continue to run budget surpluses every year while limiting new spending and reducing debt. It is time to put the government on serious diet, and it is time to really cut taxes.
Herald: The residential property valuation system still needs an overhaul. What would you do to make it beneficial to homeowners and the county?
Curran: Nassau’s rating system has been a mess for decades. Politician after politician, it was possible later, choosing what was politically practical over what was right. I ran on a promise to finally fix our flawed rating system, and that’s exactly what I did.
My administration fought hard and had the political courage to put in place a fair and just reassessment of the tax role, which had been frozen for almost a decade.
The accuracy of my administration’s reassessment has been verified by Newsday, the state, and independent experts. I have ensured that residents have the flexibility to adapt to changes in assessment values by implementing my Taxpayer Protection Plan, which staggers any assessment corrections over the next five years. I will also always protect the right of residents to challenge their property assessment.
During my first term, I tackled the fiscal mismanagement that has plagued Nassau for decades, turning chronic deficits into surpluses. I carried out a reassessment when my predecessors did not have the political courage to do so. As a result, our rating system is fairer and more accurate today than it has been in years.
Blakeman: Laura Curran has placed a huge financial burden on families and seniors, with an overwhelming majority of homeowners facing an increase in school taxes in 2021 due to its reassessment.
Mistakes in Curran’s valuation roll also resulted in the multimillionaire’s property tax bill being erased. The mansions received tax bills for zero dollars in property taxes.
While reassessment was supposed to create fairness, it is not. Neighboring houses built by the same developer pay different amounts of tax, even though they are exactly the same.
Clearly, we need to completely abandon Curran’s reassessment plan and start over. As the county executive, I will end the reassessment of Laura Curran. His progressive tax increases for the next three years will be immediately reversed by my administration.
Instead, I will hire skilled professionals to lead the appraisal service and create a new, fair system while reducing property taxes by over $ 120 million.
Herald: The Covid-19 pandemic remains a major problem. What would you do to make sure the residents are in good health to return to “normal”?
Curran: I worked around the clock with communities and health officials during the most difficult days of the pandemic to keep residents healthy and informed.
I was constantly visiting small businesses to take the pulse of our local economy. I have argued for safe reopening when it made sense to support our long-term economic health.
We have been open and transparent throughout the pandemic, pursuing an approach centered on education, awareness and accessibility. It is this approach that has earned us the ranking of the highest vaccinated county in the state and the second highest vaccinated among major counties nationwide. Our adult vaccination rate of 93.6% enabled a robust recovery – but we are not finished.
As we recover, the county is reaching out to small business owners for $ 10,000 in individual grants to those in need. County mobile vaccination teams visit businesses directly and provide vaccines to staff. Paramedics bring home vaccines.
We will provide $ 100 million in US bailout funds to some 400,000 households in the form of direct cash payments of $ 375, which will help families buy school supplies, cover utility bills and boost our local economy as we continue to come back stronger.
Blakeman: Covid-19 will be here for years to come, and we can never go back to the days of a closed economy. We must adapt by completely reopening the government to serve the people and welcome those who need services.
We must continue to offer free tests, vaccines, and boosters to those who want them. Schools should never close again. Big box stores should never be allowed to remain open while small businesses are closed. Restaurants should be allowed to continue to eat outside and continue to operate indoors.
As the county executive, I will keep my promise to do these things while ensuring that we have a transparent reporting process related to Covid cases.