East End Beacon

Bellone Wants Suffolk To Stand Up To Trump on Tax Bill

County Executive Steve Bellone | courtesy photo

Both houses of Congress have already approved sweeping changes in the nation’s tax code, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is now asking Long Islanders to push President Donald Trump to reconsider aspects of the bill that lawmakers believe could dramatically hurt New Yorkers.

His pitch? Remind The Donald that he was born here.

Mr. Bellone’s office has started an online petition asking the president to consider the effects the bill will have on Long Island — from decreased property values and consumer spending to decreased revenues for local governments and school districts, due mostly to the bills’ reduction in the State and Local Tax deductions.

“The president is a New Yorker. He understands this. He was born on this island,” said Mr. Bellone in a conference call with reporters Monday morning. “We know that he understands that being a middle class family on Long Island is different than being a middle class family in Madison, Wisconsin or Louisville, Kentucky.”

Mr. Bellone said that business groups on Long Island have calculated that the tax bill could cause “a decline of up to 20 percent in home values” on Long Island. 

He added that Long Island’s entire Congressional delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, are opposed to the tax bills as currently drafted.

“Reports from a variety of different organizations say this could add a trillion dollars or more to the national debt,” said Mr. Bellone. “If this is used as a pretense to cut Social Security and Medicare, that would be absolutely disgraceful. It would be an even greater hit to middle class and working class families across Long Island.”

He urged constituents to call the White House at 202.456.1111 or write the President at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC  20500 to ask him to reconsider.

But with the President promising the bill will be signed by Christmas, there is little time left for local voices to have an impact on the outcome.

“People thought ‘this is so bad for Long Island and New York that it can’t happen,'” said Mr. Bellone, who said he began raising the alarm about the possibility of this bill passing back in April of this year. “And here we are, with the process moving at breakneck speed…. This runs contrary to everything we are trying to do as a region to reach our economic potential.”

“You’re going to see it felt in home values and consumer spending,” said Mr. Bellone when asked what would happen on Long Island if the bill passes. “It will have a direct impact on pocketbooks. There will be a drop in revenues. Governments will more strained as a result, and over time what happens is it will pick up the pace of people leaving the region. The negative impacts of this are potentially deep and far-reaching.”
 
East End Congressman Lee Zeldin participated in a press conference last Tuesday in Hauppauge also expressing his concern about the legislation.
 
“My goal in this tax reform mission has always been to ensure the hardworking men and women of Long Island keep more of their paycheck, reduce their cost of living, and are able to save more for retirement.While I like many aspects of this tax reform plan, too many Long Islanders would not see the tax relief they desperately need and deserve,” he said after the press conference. “This fight is not over. While the reinstatement of the property tax deduction to $10,000 was progress, it was not enough progress. I will continue to fight hard to improve this bill as much as possible.”  

 


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