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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Michael Zapson
My new tax bill is through the roof

I just opened my new school property tax bill, and it’s through the roof.

School tax rates have gone up an average of almost 20 percent over the past two years, well over the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap. This additional tax rate — the “Mangano tax” — is directly attributable to County Executive Ed Mangano’s mismanagement of the assessment system.

Where I live, the Long Beach School District proposed a 1 percent tax increase, well under the state cap, and residents approved that budget last May, but last week residents opened their bills to see an average tax increase of 5.88 percent. The extra 4.88 percent is the Mangano tax.

Ed Mangano should be intimately familiar with his tax, as he is experiencing it personally. In the Bethpage School District, where he lives, taxes have increased an additional 10 percent above what the school district had planned. A review of property records shows that school taxes on Mangano’s own home have increased from $11,668 to $14,462, nearly $3,000, in the past two years.

So how can he say he didn’t raise taxes? He knows that the reduced assessment value always results in a higher tax rate. Even he now has to realize why he and other county homeowners are paying higher taxes. After pledging to fix the tax assessment system, Mangano has made it worse than it’s ever been.

He first tried to push the assessment burden onto the schools with the losing and irresponsible “county guarantee” lawsuit. After that, he tried to blame the schools for the increased taxes, even though the schools operate under the state tax cap.

In his two terms as county executive, Tom Suozzi was well on the way to fixing Nassau’s chronic, crippling property tax assessment problems. He “depoliticized” the office of tax assessor when voters passed a Suozzi-sponsored referendum in 2008 to appoint a professional assessor instead of electing a politician.

Suozzi cut the total tax-refund liability from $400 million in 2001 to $164 million in 2009.

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