Comptroller: L.I. districts pushed to the fiscal brink

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Most Long Islanders understand this reality. That’s probably why, in a 2007 Long Island Index poll, 65 percent of Long Islanders said they would not support a tax cap if it meant reducing teaching staffs, salaries or pensions, even though 55 percent said they supported the notion of a cap.

For years I have written in this column that the Town of Hempstead (and all towns, for that matter) should allow homeowners to install accessory apartments in their houses — separate apartments that could be rented out legally. Accessory apartments, which are allowed by many towns, are usually small, so they can’t accommodate large families and thus do not add a significant number of children, if any, to the schools.

But they bring a new tax base with them, meaning that local governments, including school districts, have more money to fund their operations.

That’s creative thinking.

Scott Brinton is senior editor of the Bellmore and Merrick Heralds and an adjunct professor at the Hofstra University Graduate Journalism Program. Comments? or (516) 569-4000 ext. 203. Brinton’s profile and posts can be found at

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