By Legislator Aney Paul (D – Nanuet)
Deputy Majority Leader
Rockland County Legislature
In a sad day for Rockland’s long-suffering taxpayers, the County Executive prevailed in his wish to eliminate the tax cut that had been approved by the Legislative majority. As a result, in 2017, Rockland residents will once again see their property taxes rise, even though the Legislature had found a way to change the budget to give everyone a tax cut.
In one of the most audacious moves in Rockland County history, the County Executive rerouted money that would have gone to fund your tax cut to give himself a 1,371% increase in the amount of taxpayer funds he can use to send out mailings to you in the very year he is running for re-election.
This raid of $50,000 in taxpayer funds should make every resident furious. After months of talking loudly about austerity budgeting, County Executive Day has quietly moved tens of thousands of your dollars that will be used for election-year mailings from his office. The Legislature removed this outrageous and unnecessary expense from the budget, but Ed Day specifically vetoed that budget change and put the $50,000 back in the budget.
Day’s response is that the 17-member Legislature spends more on mailings than even he wants to. However, that statement is blatantly false. In 2016, the Legislature spent a total of $3,986.92, which is nowhere near what the County Executive wants to spend on mailings for himself.
Furthermore, the money spent by the Legislature only equates to $234.52 per Legislator. In other words, Ed Day wants to spend over 200 times as much money on mailings for himself as each Legislator has spent.
Making dozens of social media posts about austerity budgeting while quietly moving tens of thousands of dollars for election-year mailings is just plain wrong and incredibly disingenuous to the people of this County. It’s no wonder so many people have become cynical about government; the constant double-talk they hear from certain politicians has left them confused and angry.
Rockland’s government and its people will not prosper if its leaders engage in sleight of hand magic tricks to spend your money for their own benefit without your knowledge.
I have always believed that the public’s participation in government is critical to its success, and this year’s budget debacle is a perfect illustration as to why. Keep your heads up and your voices high, and make sure every County official knows you are watching everything they are doing with your money.