Democratic Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, who is running for state Senate, was endorsed today by The League of Conservation Voters and The Sierra Club. The endorsements were given, according to Kaplowitz’s campaign, because of his “record of protecting the environment and improving the quality of life for Hudson Valley residents in a manner that creates jobs and grows the economy.”
But the support was also a criticism of his opponent, Republican Assemblyman Greg Ball. Ball, Kaplowitz and the groups pointed out, has often voted against communities’ requests to participate in the Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act. The act gives municipalities the ability, if they choose, to hold a referendum on setting up a 2 percent real estate transfer tax, but only on the amount of money that a buyer pays above the median value for that community. Funds raised go toward land preservation.
Since 2008, communities in Westchester and Putnam have had the option. The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson—the man Kaplowitz and Ball are running to replace.
“Local governments in the Hudson Valley have asked the legislature six times over the past four years for permission to create a Community Preservation Plan that would identify areas for farmland, open space and historic preservation.” said Nanette Bourne, NYLCV Westchester Chapter Chair. “Each and time, Greg Ball said ‘No’. NYLCV will be rallying all those who cherish clean water, open space and historic preservation to say ‘No’ to Greg Ball.”
“It’s not enough that Assemblyman Ball personally fails to deliver for his constituents. He also prevents local communities and constituents from being able to deliver for themselves,” said Kaplowitz. “He voted against giving our communities and neighbors – through a referendum – the power to protect their own natural and historic resources. Assemblyman Ball should stop voting to keep power in the hands of Albany politicians like himself and instead start empowering and delivering for local communities.”
Ball views the community preservation act as tax imposed on residents from above.
“My environmental ranking is one of the highest in the conference, I was the first Republican to demand a moratorium on dangerous hydro-fracking and I broke with my own party on climate change, standing up to big oil. But when these groups asked me to support another tax, a horrific mortgage tax, especially in this jobless recovery of an economy, I didn’t only say ‘No’; I said ‘Hell No!’ My tax and spend opponent hasn’t even been elected yet and he has already fallen off the wagon of fiscal conservatism and is now back to his taxing and spending ways, skills he perfected under Andy Spano. Typically politicians break their no tax pledges after the election, not a month before. Look, this pro mortgage tax endorsement isn’t an endorsement, its an indictment and taxpayers need to be aware. By voting for me, environmentally concerned voters can save both types of green: their wallets and the environment,” Ball said.
update—- Ball added: “There are better ways to preserve open space, like tax incentives. Taxes are already too high and I do not support this tax regardless of the process for implementation.”