Letter to the Editor – Andrew Raia

ASSEMBLYMAN RAIA ADDRESSES LIPA TAX ASSESSMENT
A Letter to the Editor from the Desk of Assemblyman Raia
 
Dear Editor: 

It's no secret that the Long Island Power Authority's (LIPA) campaign to
significantly reduce its current tax assessment on the Northport Power
Plant has raised serious concerns among the taxpayers in the
Northport-East Northport Union Free School District. As a lifelong
resident of the Town of Huntington and longtime taxpayer in the
Northport-East Northport school district, I want to assure you I share
your concerns and will continue to fight to protect our schools and our
community. 
 
As our area's voice in Albany, I have been very proactive in my response
to the LIPA tax certiorari issue from the very beginning. Not only did I
vote against LIPA legislation to form the Long Island PSEG because of its
failure to adequately address the tax certiorari issue, but I was also one
of the first advocates to call for the repowering of the Northport Power
Station to its full capacity prior to any new power plant construction on
Long Island. Indeed, I have strongly urged LIPA to address the key issues
related to the repowering and retrofitting of the Northport Power Station
and to uphold the previous agreements it made with the Town of Huntington,
as residents cannot and should not be burdened by the unfair tax increases
that would arise from the proposed financial settlements. On top of the
environmental and health costs families have already had to endure, we are
all in agreement that any outcome that does not acknowledge LIPA's
responsibilities and fully take into account residents' concerns remains
unacceptable. 
 
As we all know, this is an issue that has the potential to inflict a
devastating blow on the local tax base and will severely hamper the
ability of the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District to
provide our students with a quality education. In response to these
ominous possibilities, I became a co-sponsor of Assembly Bills A.7540 and
A.294. These legislative proposals would provide additional financial
assistance to school districts and local governments experiencing economic
strain related to a tax challenge and/or court ruling against them.
Additionally, in light of recent legislation introduced by Senators
Flanagan and LaValle that would lengthen the time for the reduction of
taxes paid by LIPA on power plants to 15 years while expanding the use of
an existing state power plant cessation mitigation fund, I am pleased to
announce that I have introduced a companion bill in the State Assembly in
tandem with Assemblyman Charles Lavine (A.10496). Ultimately, what this
all boils down to goes well beyond any new financial burdens citizens and
municipalities will have to bear, but strikes at the very future and
stability of our community, making it imperative that we fully prepare for
any contingency that may arise from the current judicial proceedings.
 
Furthermore, while LIPA has constructed several power lines beneath the
Long Island Sound to provide electricity to residents, I believe this is
an unnecessary step that would simply put us at the whim of other power
companies operating throughout the region. As such, I am a strong
proponent of creating the necessary infrastructure to establish Long
Island as a self-sustaining energy producer, and I believe  upgrading and
improving the massive and inefficient Northport Plant has the potential to
help lead us in that direction. In short, repowering the plant is a
win-win for Long Islanders and the residents of Huntington, as this would
end the tax certiorari issue while also eliminating the need for the
construction of more power stations on Long Island.
 
I hope this letter leaves you with no doubt as to where I stand on this
important issue. I will continue to support any efforts which work in
favor of the residents of Huntington, and I look forward to working with
our local leaders in the Town to avoid these financially devastating
property tax hikes.
 
Sincerely,
Andrew P. Raia
Member of Assembly
12th Assembly District
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