To the Editor:
If Mike Florio opposes the Nassau Coliseum referendum because he does not wish to pay $58, that’s fine (“Wants more details on Coliseum plan,” July 7-13). If he opposes it because he dislikes Charles Wang or County Executive Ed Mangano, that’s also fine — shortsighted, but fine. But if he claims that his opposition is based on the lack of “full disclosure on what this will cost the taxpayers,” then he’s not looking very hard.
The day that the lease agreement between the Islanders and Nassau County was announced, a 46-page analysis of the lease and its impact on taxpayers was simultaneously published on the Islanders’ and the county’s websites. The analysis was done by the independent firm Camoin Associates, which is based in upstate Malta and obviously has no financial interest in the development of a 77-acre site on Long Island. For Mr. Florio’s edification (and that of anyone else), the URL where the analysis can be found is http://islanders.nhl.com/v2/ext/HUB%20REDEVELOPMENT%20PROJEC_001.pdf.
If he actually bothers to read it, Mr. Florio will see that the analysis projects that the net result of the approval of the bond issuance will be a profit for the county’s taxpayers of $403 million over the new arena’s lifetime. Yes, there will be approximately a $58-per-year addition to residents’ tax bills, but a sizable portion of that will be offset by the guaranteed 11.5 percent contribution to the county of all revenue from the arena over the length of the Islanders’ new 30-year lease.
Of course, if Mr. Florio’s opposition is based on the specific impact this would have on his personal tax bill or on the possibility that a politician he dislikes may get credit for actually solving a decade-old problem, that is his prerogative. However, let him also be upfront about it, instead of trying to hide his lack of concern for jump-starting Long Island’s economy behind a need to see “all the details.” If he wants to see the details, all he has to do is look.