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Letter to the Editor: Denenberg Opposes Mangano's Plan for Tax Refunds

Legislator discusses his point of view on tax certiorari refunds.

For residents who received letters, at taxpayer expense, from County Executive Mangano regarding your tax grievance refunds, I assure you that, contrary to the County Executive's accusations, it is his administration that is holding your property tax refund hostage to politics. 

My caucus never proposed raising taxes and, instead, offered budget amendments to cut more than $300 million from his budget. Until this administration, residential tax refunds were paid from operating expenses and not from borrowing. Paying tax refunds out of operating funds ensures that you will get your money immediately. To borrow for tax refunds is clearly poor fiscal policy. 

Moreover, Mangano is being disingenuous when he says he’s being forced to raise taxes 25 percent. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo, there is a 2 percent tax cap in place. The County Executive’s statement is simply fear mongering and entirely false. He made a similar statement last week when he said he’d have to raise taxes 19 percent if his precinct closure plan is not approved. 

Unfortunately, Mangano’s numbers lack credibility, which led to budget deficits and to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) running the county’s finances and three bond rating decreases.

What Mangano leaves out of his letter is that the County could pay your refund out of the $14.5 million it has available right now to pay tax refunds.  What’s even more alarming is that, in 2011, the Mangano Administration paid out more than $30 million in tax certiorari refunds, depleting this account, but only a mere $2 million – less than 7 percent of the total payments – went to homeowners. 

Additionally, at a Feb. 6 legislative committee session, a Deputy County Executive stated that $90 million was available in cash reserves.  That makes $104.5 million available to pay residential refunds, yet Mangano intentionally refused to pay residential refunds.    

The Mangano Administration passes the blame for holding up your refunds, which the prior administration properly paid out of operating expenses, to pressure the Democrats to agree to borrow more than $100 million more to pay for the County Executive's mishandling of assessments. 

You, the taxpayer, will be paying off this debt for years, as will your children and grandchildren. Significantly, most of the money he wants us to borrow would not go to homeowners like yourself, but, instead, to commercial property owners.  The bottom line is the county should not borrow for these refunds and this administration’s mishandling of the assessment problem is hurting us, our children and grandchildren.

It is not right that you have to wait for your property tax refund. It should have been paid immediately. Moreover, rather than wait for borrowed funds, the County is able to pay your refund right now with existing funds. 

I urge you to call or write to County Executive Mangano and demand immediate payment of your refund. You can reach him at (516)571-3131 or emangano@nassaucountyny.gov.

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Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick

Joe February 16, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Could not have said it better.
Merrick7 February 16, 2012 at 05:42 PM
@Chris excellent points. I would have to say Denenberg really sticks up for Merrick as well and shows concerns for the community there too. Although we also have Assemblyman McDonough and Senator Fuschillo living in our community well as Councilwoman Cullin right next door and an attentive Supervisor, but still Denenberg truly cares. He hasa horrible tendency for grandstanding which is no better than his republican counterparts. Please Denenberg present real solutions
Greg Bashaw February 22, 2012 at 03:02 AM
David, what would you do. David I agree with alot of the things you have stood for in the past, BUT it seems this time you just are taking the opposing view of what Ed is trying to accomplish JUST because he is a Republican. Nassau County has many problems, and we have to cut what we can. Nobody likes looking like the bad guy, so what would YOU do.
Dave Denenberg February 26, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Pay rersidential refunds out of operating expenses. Limit the refunds by processing the challenges in the 15 month period between when the refund must be filed and when the roll goes final. I have legislation that has not been placed on the calendar requiring the assessment review commission to complete its review of challenges (which must be filed by March 1) by September 15 of each year so that there are no refunds, no overpayments and the assessor's office will have the results in enough time to use the following year. No one overpays to begin with and refunhds are limited to very few cases. Residents should be paid out of operating expenses as they have in the past. Here, there is more thasn enough to pay from an existing bond or cash reserves. To hold up refunds and mail to people that the legislators must approve more borroqwing is inaccurate and unnecessary.
Dave Denenberg February 26, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Chris: See my reply above. Sorry for typos. Still used to spell check. The answer on assessment really is to limit the refunds by processing challenges in house, without using outside firms, within the 15 month period bewtween when challenges must be filed and when the assessment roll goes final. The answer is not to borrow even more to pay refunds as that is borrowing to pay for over paymennt of taxes that were already received. Limit the refunds. Then, the limited refund amounts from cases that can't be settled or tried within 15 months, even where the assessment review commission meets deadlines that my law sets, should be allocated over the entire district in which the refund applied. That is, it should be part of the following year's assessment. To push refunds onto school and fire districts and towns only passes the bill to tax payers. This is especially problematic when the county is not handling the challenges before the roll goes final so that most succesful challenges become refunds.

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