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McKevitt Responds to Challenger's Claims

Assemblyman Tom McKevitt responds to charges leveled against Democrat Kevin C. Brady.

My opponent in this year’s election has recently written two opinion pieces on Patch which requires a response, for they contain distortions of my record, and an incorrect statement about my views.

He criticizes me for voting in favor of S.7722, which he terms the “private school bailout” bill and would be a “new and costly unfunded mandates on public schools to pay for private academies.” 

The truth is, state law already provides for special education students to be placed in private institutions and be reimbursed by public funds.  

This bill would not change that. The determination on private placement tuition reimbursement is made with the same considerations and criteria used in determining the appropriateness of a school district's placement, with the goal that a placement provides the student with an educational benefit. 

This bill would require committees on special education to take into consideration the possible differences between the school environment and the child’s home environment and family background when making a placement decision. There has been much debate as to whether this bill would cause significant additional school costs. The Governor in his veto message claimed the costs would be “incalculable.” 

I respectfully disagree with this assessment.My opponent also states that I voted “yes” for “Assembly Bill 7140 Raising local fees for animal licenses.”  The title of his piece even asks “Can someone tell me why Assemblyman McKevitt even voted to raise taxes on your pets.” 

Let me answer that question: I did not raise taxes on your pets. The bill which did, was Assembly Bill 9709-C from the year 2010. I voted “no” on that bill on June 18, 2010. 

What Assembly Bill 7140B does, is clarify that the monies collected from the fee are to be used solely for a State-run animal population control program, which provides funding for the spaying and neutering of domesticated animals.

It does not increase the fee.My opponent further refers to the Newsday interview which was held with both of us present on September 18, 2012.  He has stated that I would let Nassau County “skip out on property tax rebates they owe back to honest homeowners who were overcharged during over-assessment.” 

This statement is simply not true. I never said it to the Newsday editorial board or to anyone else, for it is not, and never has been my position. The topic did not even come up in the interview. What was discussed at the interview, was changing the policy of the “County Guarantee” on assessment refunds.

Previously, when a taxpayer challenged his or her assessment, Nassau County had to provide for 100 percent of the refund, even though it collected approximately 20 percent of the revenue that was collected in taxes. 

School districts, towns and special districts would be able to keep the revenue it received.  Nassau is the only county in the state where this was the practice, and this has exasperated the county’s fiscal difficulties.

Two years ago the County Legislature repealed this policy by a local law, and it is being litigated in the courts. Newsday asked us if the County was unsuccessful in this legal challenge because a local law was not the proper method to change the policy, whether I would support a state law change that would effectuate the change. 

I said I would, and my opponent said he would not.I would never state that homeowners should be prevented from obtain rebates on overassessments.  I pay property taxes and I personally know how crushing they can be to a middle class family and to say that I would oppose refunds is absurd. 

The only question, and the only issue before the editorial board, is who should pay the refund: the County in the entirety, or each taxing jurisdiction who received the revenue.Finally, my opponent makes the following statement about me. 

“He’s even keeping his office in Garden City, if that doesn’t tell us something about who he really represents.” 

On Jan. 5, 2011, I took an oath of office to represent the people of the current 17th Assembly District.  That district includes Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, the Willistons, Albertson, Carle Place, Westbury, Garden City, East Meadow, the Bellmores, Merricks, Uniondale and Roosevelt. 

I continue to uphold that oath and perform services for those constitutes today, and will continue to do so for the rest of the term. My current office is located within that district, and I am required to keep it there through the end of the year.

If I am elected to the new 17th Assembly District, the office will need to be moved to the confines of the new district, as is required by the Rules of the Assembly.What is most amusing, is that my opponent includes a link purporting to show a picture of my current office. 

The photo he shows is of an office that I have not been in for nearly two years. The correct address is readily available on the Assembly website.

unknownauthor October 25, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Or in layman's terms instead of lawyer's words: **Governor Cuomo and his administration's assessment of the unfunded mandate he had to veto were both WRONG... **The other Republican Assemblymembers from Long Island who voted against this pet fee bill in question were WRONG... **And when the County over-assesses your house (and you pay more than you should to everyone), the County isn't responsible. You should only get some of your money back. So, YOU the angry homeowner, are WRONG too.
unknownauthor October 25, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Additionally, to correct any assertions between the lines here, I don't want anyone to ever feel I fault Assemblyman McKevitt for his career in government and engaging in civic life. The Assemblyman is very devoted to his causes and our disagreements are entirely in the policy arena.

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