Rockland County Executive Says New Yorkers Being ‘Sandbagged’ by Federal Tax Reform

John Jordan | November 2017

NEW CITY—Republican Rockland County Executive Ed Day, who recently easily won re-election to a second term of office, says that New York taxpayers are being “sandbagged” by the federal tax reform proposal now being debated by Congress.

In an exclusive interview with Real Estate In-Depth at his offices in New City, County Executive Day was highly critical of the GOP House and Senate tax reform plans that would put a cap on the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate state and local tax deductions, as well as other highly popular deductions that will likely adversely impact the New York State housing market and others in high cost states.

Day said he is very concerned about the possible economic impact on Rockland County and New York State from the tax reform plan. He noted that while he understands the position of other states that feel they are subsidizing a high tax state, “They ignore the fact that more than $40 billion more of what we (New York State) receive is given to the federal government.”

He said his views on the tax reform plan are based on two facts. “Number one we are getting sandbagged here. You don’t turn around and suddenly, magically say, ‘Guess what we are going to cut back your deductions… It is ridiculous,” he said. “Have some conversation first. Work with each other and this is the problem in Washington. I don’t know who is more to blame at this point because we have 535 representatives and this is catching everybody by surprise.”

Day said the elimination of the state and local tax deduction would definitely harm the New York State economy. “I am calling on all federal officials to stop this silliness. You are going to damage more than 16 million people here in the State of New York and for what, politics? And that is what this comes down to. Nobody is listening to each other,” Day stressed. “They are talking at each other. That’s our problem, there needs to be leadership here.”

He added the tax reform issue should also serve as a “clarion for New York State government” that it is spending too much money. Day in particular pointed to out of control Medicaid spending, which he estimated makes up 51% of a Rockland County taxpayer’s county tax bill each year. He also was critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s free state college tuition program and even noted the $1-million in state aid for Puerto Rico was “well intentioned, but wrong-headed.” Day said that disaster aid is the role of the federal government, not state government.

“The problem here is that we spend money, often for political reasons,” Day said. “It sounds wonderful and gets votes, but who is going to be the big boy in the room and say, ‘No.’ New York State is facing a multi-billion dollar deficit right now. They (New York State representatives) are at a crossroads, much like Rockland County was back in 2010, 2011 where the warning signs were clear after the recession that we were coming into a free-fall and the time had come to put the brakes on things and somebody had to have strong leadership.”

He said Rockland County did not start addressing its fiscal woes until it was facing about a $138 million deficit when he first took office nearly four years ago. New York State should not make the same mistake, Day warned.

Editor’s Note: Look for the full interview of Rockland County Executive Ed Day with Real Estate In-Depth in the upcoming Rockland County Supplement that will be published in the December print edition of the newspaper as well as online at www.realestateindepth.com.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth