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Monday, December 22, 2014
Guest Column: State Sen. John Flanagan
Mr. Suozzi, the State Senate's in good hands, thanks

There’s a saying that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We don’t have to look very far back in the history books to learn about the damage State Senate Democrats inflicted on Long Island taxpayers during their disastrous two years in the majority in 2009 and 2010.

In his Herald column last week, “The State Senate is up for grabs,” Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi — no stranger to double-digit property tax hikes — made a case for Democrats taking back control of the state Senate with the backing of ultra-left-wing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the radical Working Families Party. Suozzi conveniently made no mention of the Senate Democrats’ previous record while in charge.

Let me remind you.

While in the majority, Senate Democrats cut state aid to school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties by $216 million, and shifted school funding to New York City, reducing Long Island’s share of state aid. Democrats created the Gap Elimination Adjustment, an unfair aid cut that cost our schools hundreds of millions of dollars.

And if the school aid cut didn’t hurt property taxpayers enough, Senate Democrats eliminated STAR property tax rebate checks, costing Long Island seniors and homeowners $370 million in property tax relief.

Senate Democrats also created the job-killing Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax, which was a direct hit to Long Island employers. In total, Democrats raised 124 taxes and fees by $14 billion, also increased spending by $14 billion, and left us to clean up a $10 billion budget deficit.

Senate Republicans voted against every one of those tax hikes. The two Senate Democrats from Long Island who voted with their New York City colleagues to cut school aid and raise taxes were justifiably voted out of office.

Fortunately for Long Islanders, over the past four years, Senate Republicans have rolled back much of the damage done by the Democrats. We increased state funding to Long Island schools by $245 million and restored much of the GEA cuts, as well as our region’s fair share of aid.

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