The good news? The proposed budget-balancing Nassau County fee increases to record real estate transaction documents and mortgage refinancing documents were voted down by the County Legislature!
While the increased revenue from these very unpopular fees are much needed to balance Nassau County’s budget, to vote them in would not have been the politically expedient thing to do.
And what, if not politically expedient, are our politicians?
For those who may be unaware of the controversy surrounding this issue then the article, ‘Nassau County: Bipartisan Political Gamesmanship And Empty Gestures Surround Proposed Real Estate Fee Hikes‘, goes into more detail. Here’s a brief chronological overview…
‘…Are Our Politicians Simply Nuzzling At The Taxpayer Teat Until There’s Nothing Left To Take?
January 2015 Nassau County creates the Tax Map Verification Letter verifying Section, Block and Lot for $75. These letters must accompany all documents presented for recording.
Not one letter per file of course, but a separate $75 letter for all deeds, mortgages, satisfactions, assignments, consolidations, or any modification of the foregoing.
Egregious money grab, right? Wait, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
September 2015 and for the 2nd time ‘…Nassau is proposing to significantly raise fees, including for mortgage recording (which would double, to $300) and tax map verification (which would triple, to $225).‘
Big increase which could only mean one thing…the powers that be got a taste of the low hanging fruit and would likely be back for more!
On schedule and as of January 1, 2017, the fee for a Tax Map Verification Letter jumped to $355…
…it’s to be proposed on Monday September 25, 2017 that the Tax Map Verification Letter fee and land recording fee be raised by $100, bringing each to $455 and $400 respectively…’
And Now The Bad News Concerning The State Of The 2018 Nassau County Budget!
The ‘revenues’ added to the budget replacing the fees being taken out seem to mainly be based on raising the projections in a number of areas.
As any private sector businessperson knows simply stating that money will suddenly be there down the road, basically by creating it out of thin air with pen and paper, is not how you balance a budget.
If these revenue sources were expected to be as fruitful two weeks ago as they were in the budget pronouncement yesterday, why wasn’t that in fact indicated two weeks ago?
The reason is that it’s more budgetary gamesmanship and an attempt at fiscal sleight of hand.
And NIFA, the NYS fiscal oversight board, is not going to accept it.
‘Adam Barsky, chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state oversight board in control of the county’s finances, said the GOP amendments fail to comply with their directive that fee hikes be replaced with recurring revenue increases or budget savings.
“By removing vital revenue increases and relying on projections that are too aggressive, the budget is no longer responsibly balanced, and NIFA has no choice but to reject the document as is,” Barsky said.‘ (Source: Newsday)
Looks like it’s back to the drawing board!
Michael Haltman, President
Hallmark Abstract Service
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