Senator Jack M. Martins was welcomed by the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce at recent Thursday morning breakfast meeting at the Inn of Great Neck, where he answered numerous questions from chamber members.
Having taken office as Senator of the Seventh Senate District this past January, Martins is making his way around the district on days he isn’t in Albany to discuss both local and state issues with the residents, elected officials and businesses owners of the community.
Senator Martins was introduced by Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Valerie Link of Anton Community Newspapers. He kept his initial comments brief, speaking about the importance of local governments such as villages, so that chamber members would have the opportunity to ask questions.
Among the topics brought up was the recent Nassau County Legislature proposal to redistrict. The proposal has drawn concern from Great Neck because it threatens to split the community into more than one district. Senator Martins said the plan for Great Neck would make it more difficult for Legislators to know what it going on in their community. “That’s not what it should be about,” he said. “Keeping Great Neck together should be a priority.”
Another topic discussed was government consolidation. Senator Martins is currently working on a bill with Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel to strengthen the Citizen Empowerment Act so that residents of a local government will know the impact of consolidating a local government. The amendment to the current law has already passed the Senate.
Even though they are on opposite sides of the aisle, Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel have worked together are numerous bills. “Michelle gets it. She is a great person to work with because she cares about the communities she represents. When we go to Albany, it should never be about politics. It should be about doing what’s right for the communities we represent,” Senator Martins said.
The MTA payroll tax was another topic that was raised because of its impact to the businesses community. The tax currently brings in $1.4 billion to be spent on the MTA. Senator Martins said the Senate is looking at ways to repeal the tax. As the economy improves and revenues increase, Senator Martins said he would like to see any increase in revenues or cost savings to be dedicated first and foremost to repealing the payroll tax, which will be phased out.
Senator Martins thanked the chamber for allowing him to be his guest. He is looking forward to spending a lot of time in the Great Neck community. Other dignitaries at the meeting included Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, Village of Great Neck Trustee and Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman, Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Kitty Poons and Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth.