CITY OF LONG BEACH BUDGET PUNISHES FAMILIES, BUSINESSES, AND SENIORS WITH AN 8.35 PERCENT TAX HIKE

Statement from Reclaim New York Initiative Long Island Regional Director Michael Watt on the passage of the City of Long Beach’s budget for 2018-2019:

“Long Beach residents will feel the sting of an 8.35 percent tax hike thanks to a bloated budget passed unanimously by the city council Wednesday night. This budget smashes through the property tax cap and hikes costs for families, businesses, and seniors.

“Hundreds of Long Beach residents spoke out against the city’s original budget proposal, which included a 12 percent tax hike. Their advocacy led to the city council lowering the increase by four percent.

“City residents can applaud the council for making some positive adjustments. However, Long Beach must do much more to address the city’s serious budgetary problems.

“City officials should have seen this budget crisis coming from a mile away. Long Beach dug itself a $2 million hole by paying out unused sick and vacation time before ever having the funds to do so. This malpractice has led to a state audit of the city’s finances.

“The lack of transparency surrounding the budget process is a disservice to taxpayers. Announcing the budget vote late Friday before a holiday weekend was guaranteed to discourage citizens from participating in the process.

“Long Beach’s finances are ultimately a self-inflicted disaster. The city’s refusal to address long-term mismanagement punishes residents with a budget that will add hundreds of dollars to the average household’s tax bill.”

Photo by John Galt