Town, state officials hope to aid furloughed employees on Long Island


As the partial government shutdown continues, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald X. Clavin, State Assemblyman Ed Ra, Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito called for a 90-day extension of the Feb. 11 property tax payment deadline. The extension, they said, would provide a modicum of relief for federal employees coping with the shutdown.

The proposal must first be appraised by the state. “We pay a fortune in property taxes here on Long Island,” said Clavin at a news conference on Jan. 17. “The last thing we need to do is have men and women, who have nothing to do with this silly government shutdown, getting caught in the middle of it, and frankly, facing mounting bills. They need help, and they need relief.”

Roughly 800,000 workers nationwide are impacted by the shutdown, and 420,000 who are working without pay.

The State Assembly recently passed a bill to provide an extension to the property tax deadline for furloughed and designated non-pay federal employees. For the bill to become law, the Senate must approve it and the governor must sign it. Ra, who represents West Hempstead, said that while some of the issues addressed by the Assembly were contentious, many of his fellow members were united on this issue.

“We hope and advocate for our representatives at the federal level to come and solve this,” Ra said. “This is something we can do to provide some real relief to folks that are down here. Not having to worry about paying a penalty [for late payment of property taxes], I think it’s a win for everyone.”

Clavin said the bill should be the first item on the Senate’s agenda. The townships in Nassau County, such as the Town of North Hempstead and the Town of Oyster Bay, he said, should be prepared to jump on board if this bill is passes.

“Feb. 11 is right around the corner,” Clavin said of the deadline to property taxes. “People pay thousands of dollars in taxes, and this [would be a] significant relief for people who are still working [and] have no source of income whatsoever. This should not be a political issue. This should be bipartisan.”

Goosby said that federal employees need any help they can get, and that teaming up with Clavin, Ra and D’Esposito was an easy decision. “We’re working together on this because it’s important,” she said.

“It’s crucial that we provide as much relief as possible to furloughed and non-pay federal workers during this record-breaking government shutdown,” D’Esposito stated in a news release.

Clavin said that while they do not have the authority to reopen the federal government in their positions, they have to think creatively to assist their constituents affected by the situation. Ra said he hopes that if this bill passes, that the town will be one of the first municipalities to opt in.