Q: What are the biggest issues facing the 13th Legislative District, and how do you plan to go about solving them?
Gonsalves: The biggest problem facing my district, as well as the remainder of Nassau County, is high taxes. The previous County Executive and Democratic legislative majority raised property taxes by 42.3 percent between 2000 and 2009. Households cannot bear anymore tax increases. If reelected, I will continue to pass no tax-increase budgets, as I have since the Republicans regained the majority on the Legislature in 2010. I have also eliminated 16.5 percent in proposed property tax increases, repealed the 2.5 percent Home Energy Tax and stopped the Fast Food Tax. I plan to continue to listen to constituents and do all that I can to minimize the Nassau tax burden on them.
Kraus: The assessment system needs total overhaul, as it is forcing anyone who doesn’t grieve their assessment — and do so successfully — to pay higher taxes, year after year. The current system is antiquated, inefficient, and unfair.
The ongoing loss of our young people and senior citizens as residents is another issue. Young people leave the County after college and move down south, to New York City and to Suffolk because they cannot find sustainable, affordable housing in Nassau County. Seniors on fixed incomes are overburdened as well in this area. We need to find options to keep these people in the county and allow them to thrive here throughout all stages of life.
Taxes are an item we all hear about regularly from residents, especially school taxes, which are at an unsustainable level throughout the county. Although the county government has no authority to regulate such, we need to bring attention to this issue on behalf of our residents.