By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
A New Year and new opportunities to make good on a vow that has been a centerpiece of my administration – economic development.
Attracting business – clean industry – is tied to our way of life and your pocketbook.
Keep in mind that every cent of the taxes paid by business is a cent that you, the taxpayer, do not have to pay.
Those taxes, both from businesses and from taxpayers, maintain the services that make Rockland County such a great place to live.
And the costs to run our government, schools, police, parks and other service keep going up.
Here at Rockland County government, factors outside our direct control add to our costs.
Factors like state mandates and decreasing state reimbursements on top of increased costs related to employee health insurance and union contracts.
Yet, we have been able to keep your tax increases to a bare minimum and stayed within the state property tax cap. All while paying off the deficit bond to the tune of $13.2 million annually.
By bringing wealth and development to our county.
I firmly believe that it’s not the job of government to create jobs. Rather, it’s the job of government to create an atmosphere where business thrives and jobs are created. Jobs that keep us, and, hopefully, our children employed in Rockland County.
We are bringing wealth and development to the County across multiple fronts.
An example: In 2017 we were awarded nearly $6 million for local businesses and municipalities from the New York State Regional Economic Development awards – more than the combined total for the three full years prior to our coming into office.
And we are also bringing money into the county through tourism and the filming industry. Our reach is as close as New York City and as far as China and Ireland.
Were it not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in Rockland would have to pay an additional $575 to maintain the same level of government revenue.
There you see the results of our efforts: A stabilized tax base, unemployment rate down 30 percent and increased opportunity for those who wish to pursue the American dream.
There’s something else going on that has a big impact on your wallet and the future of this county.
In the years before I took office a huge shift took place that put more of the tax burden on you.
That shift is related to the assessment roll for the county – the list of properties that pay taxes.
In Rockland County, our assessment rolls dropped by billions over the last 10 years as we lost giant taxpayers like Pfizer, Lovett, Mirant and others.
The assessment roll hit a low point in 2015 at just under $35 billion – down a whopping $13 billion from the 2008 peak.
But here’s the good news: Since 2015 the assessment rolls have increased $5 billion.
At the same time, our tax rates in 2018 will be lower than in any year since 2014, the year I took office.
It’s proof that our strategy of creating a thriving business environment is paying dividends for residents. More businesses are paying taxes so you don’t have to.
It’s also proof that making economic development a centerpiece of my administration has had a transformative impact on our County in just four years.
And I tell you this – it’s just the beginning.