My Plan: Key Issues I Am Fighting for on Behalf of Westchester Residents, especially in District 3:
1. Reduce the size of County government and reduce spending to lower taxes: Taxes need to be lower and essential services must be provided on a cost-effective basis. There is no honor in having the highest taxes in the country. Again, Westchester County is #1 for having the highest property taxes in the entire United States of America. Are the services that we are receiving really that much better than everyone else throughout the country to warrant the cost? We desperately need to lower the tax burden on all of our residents and put an end to the runaway spending by the Board of Legislators.
So how can we finally provide real tax relief? See Point #2.
2. Promote business growth and development in Westchester: Westchester must be promoted as open for business. Legislators must be proactive in encouraging sustainable business growth within the county and not viewed as a hindrance to development. We will need more innovative thinking. As a chief financial officer chartered financial analyst and certified public accountant, when there is a problem, I cannot make a new law or tax to get around it. I have to solve the problem. It is time our legislators use common sense and not hinder business growth with excessive taxes and regulations. As the County Legislator for District 3, I am promoting a pro-growth agenda for business development in Westchester. By doing so, this can lead to an increase in the County's revenue base, thus lowering residential, commercial and school property taxes. This also has the potential to create jobs right here at home for Westchester residents and taxpayers.
3. Protect the safety of all Westchester residents: The safety of our family, friends and neighbors must be protected. Decisions for the future of the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Indian Point power plant must be made soon. Flooding on County parkways and in our local communities continues to be a problem too. It's time for the Westchester County Legislators to start making decisions and having their voices heard in Albany. Take, for example, the Tappan Zee Bridge. The truth is, the span has outlived its life expectancy. Instead of being reactive and waiting for a tragedy to occur, let's stop "studying" what we can do and just do it!
4. Protect our property rights now: The affordable housing settlement is government run amok. We have worked too hard to have our rights taken away and the value of our homes destroyed by the government. We need to stop letting the federal government think they can go outside the boundaries of the original settlement. In what was supposed to be a $52 million dollar project for 750 affordable housing units, would grow to in excess of nearly $100 million if the federal regulators have their way. Local zoning laws were supposed to be respected too. The federal government wants the County to sue local municipalities who do not comply with this overriding of zoning laws. We do not need the federal government telling us what type of housing to build and where we should build it in our community.
I am a firm supporter of affordable housing, workforce housing and housing for seniors but what the federal government wants is to implement a integration housing plan. They even want the County to market these units to those outside of the County with your tax dollars! The fact is, Westchester County is the 4th most diverse county in all of New York State.
Our zoning is not discriminatory. I know I cannot afford a $10 million house. That is not discrimination; it's economics. The County Board needs to stand with County Executive Astorino and fight the federal government's overreaching as opposed to their current solution of government by lawsuit, which costs taxpayers unnecessary money and looks for judges to do the job of our elected officials.
5. I support County Executive Rob Astorino and his vision for Westchester. Like him, I believe Westchester needs to be governed by those who act in the best interests of our community instead of those who use the Legislature as a mere stepping stone for their own political advancement. As a citizen legislator, I am not looking to run for higher office, or even keep this position for many years. We need to stop the career politicians in the County Legislature so real reform can take place.
6. Stop the spending spree and effectively manage the County debt: Westchester County is taking on too much debt. This constant borrowing of funds will have to be paid for by our children and grandchildren down the road. We cannot allow the out-of-control spending by the Board of Legislators to continue. While other County departments had to slash spending by 10-20%, the Board of Legislators' budget actually increased! Common sense tells you that when the revenue stream is not growing, expenses should not be growing either. Just as every family has had to "tighten-the-belt" during these tough times, so too should the Board of Legislators.
So far into my term, I have refused the added benefits that legislators are “entitled” to get including the pension that all “part-time” legislators are awarded. I have rejected mileage reimbursement to and from meetings as well as refused to eat the $20,000 food “provided” annually to the legislators before each regular Board meeting. As a taxpayer, I am very disturbed to know that our hard-earned tax dollars are used in this manner.
And this is only the beginning. I encourage you to continue to follow our progress on the Board as I fight to give District 3 residents the voice they deserve.