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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alfonse D'Amato
A tumultuous 2012, to say the least

If there had been only a presidential election, and no other major news events, in 2012, it still would’ve been a year to remember.

For those of us in the Northeast, it was about much more than politics, as we were hit by the storm of the century, and then had to watch as our neighbors in Connecticut buried 20 young children, massacred by a deranged man with multiple handguns.

Nope, 2012 won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Hurricane Sandy caused devastation on much of Long Island. The South Shore, including my hometown community of Island Park, took a severe hit.

Recovery money that has and will come, in the form of federal and state government relief and several charities, will help us rebuild. In times like these we need to be patient, but steadfast. It will take a tremendous amount of valor to rebuild our communities.

Our economic base has taken a severe hit, with countless small businesses closing, and many in jeopardy of not being able to reopen. Already staggering property tax burdens will be exacerbated as a result of this loss of revenue. Simply put, Nassau’s taxpayers need relief now more than ever.

Let me be clear. I believe that it is necessary to have a first-class educational system, and we are blessed to have wonderful educators here on Long Island. But the crushing school tax burden can no longer be ignored.

Our sky-high administrative costs and loaded non-contributory pension systems must be dealt with. While Governor Cuomo has proposed a “Tier-6” plan for pension reform, those efforts need to be continued with our legislators. The fight begins in Albany!

Without reducing these mandated costs to school and local governments, Nassau’s long-term economic health and vibrancy will be threatened. Every day, more and more Long Islanders are forced to pack up and leave due to overbearing taxes. We have to stop the flight.

Without a doubt, the political highlight of the year was the presidential election. I was fortunate enough to meet Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, and was convinced that he was a decent man and would have been a good president, but now that’s history.

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