Pro and con on Nassau Coliseum redevelopment
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We are happy that the public will be able to weigh in on this project via a referendum on Aug. 1. Vote “yes” in that referendum.
After the story ran, the Nassau Democratic Committee received a dozen emails from people who took my words to mean that Democrats don’t want the New York Islanders to stay in Nassau County.
There’s a difference between supporting the Islanders and supporting bad fiscal policy. I like the Islanders. I want them to stay on Long Island. But it doesn’t make sense to rebuild their arena on the taxpayer’s dime.
While it’s true that a new-and-improved Coliseum would be a nicer place to see sporting events and concerts, we need to ask ourselves: Is a nicer Coliseum worth a 4 percent increase in our county’s sky-high property taxes? I don’t think the people of Nassau County will vote to increase their own taxes. We’re smarter than that.
The people who stand to benefit most from a new Coliseum are private businessmen and women, with Islanders owner Charles Wang chief among them. With all due respect to Mr. Wang, it’s clear that he recognizes how much he has to gain from a new arena. Five years ago he was willing to partner with Reckson Associates to renovate the aging Coliseum and develop the surrounding land — without taxpayer money.