Long Island Stagnates as Construction Booms Nearby

Long Island Stagnates as Construction Booms Nearby

[As Seen on Long Island Business News]

Everyone knows that there is a vast economic gap between upstate and downstate New York. Upstate communities are losing their young people and there are very few new major commercial and residential projects on the horizon. New York City is another story. Its five boroughs are booming and new construction is cropping up all over.

With the exception of the Hamptons, which is experiencing its own building boom, there isn’t much going on in Nassau or Suffolk counties these days. There is a smattering of new home construction on the North and South Forks and a few isolated projects underway in scattered parts of the counties, but that’s just about it for the economic picture on Long Island.

The bi-county area is blessed with the presence of many progressive and growing companies who have dedicated and hardworking local employees and appreciate the many benefits that Long Island offers. But somehow, there isn’t much else going on from the Queens border to Montauk Point.

By any measure the Island is an excellent place to live with its good schools, great beaches, and the short commuting distance to New York City. Its positives far outweigh its negatives, but the negatives are what is hurting the potential for new economic growth. Ask any corporate executive why the Island isn’t seeing dramatic changes: at the top of their list is taxes. It’s true that you can’t get good schools without tax revenues and that local governments need revenue to keep functioning. But taxes continue to be a problem.

In his remarks about government costs in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo continually stresses that we have too much government. There are an estimated 300 local taxing entities on Long Island alone and a glance at a tax bill will show that communities pay taxes for lighting districts, escalator districts and dozens of water and sanitation districts that could be easily folded into the town structure.

The challenge for our elected officials is to take an eyes wide-open look at the state of the Island and start thinking about how we can enjoy some of that economic boom that our neighbors to the west are experiencing.

Kremer is a former member of the New York State Assembly.