Haber says he will succeed where Senate GOP has failed

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Haber says he will succeed where Senate GOP has failed

Democrat Adam Haber rejected as unfounded claims by his opponent, Republican Elaine Phillips, that if he were to win the race to represent the 7th Senate District, the balance of power in the state Legislature would tilt to New York City-based Democrats and hurt Long Island.
“The point that’s being missed by Ms. Phillips and the rest of the Republicans and their sound bites is you’re going to have a president from New York, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, and you’re most likely going to have a majority leader in the federal Senate from New York,” as well as a Democratic governor and Democratic majority in the state Assembly, Haber said in a sitdown interview with Blank Slate Media. “It’s like a perfect solar eclipse lining up. If all these things happen, shame on us if we can’t get more resources for New York.”
Phillips argued last week that Long Island would not be sufficiently represented by the state Senate if Haber won and one of the areas that could be most affected by a shift in power to the Democrats is education and state school aid.
Haber, a Roslyn school board member, said that Senate Republicans created the formula that has given the rest of New York more money.
“With Republicans in power for the last 50 years, except for two, they have essentially written the rules,” he said.
Currently, the number of legislators in the state Senate is evenly split between the two parties; however, five Democratic legislators side with the Republicans.
Haber said that those legislators were “opportunists who only want power and not what’s good for the community” and that he would not side with his GOP colleagues if elected.
Long Island schools educate 17 percent of students in the state, Haber said, but only receive 12 percent of state funding.
He said he would get more state school aid by requesting funds from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget surpluses.
Haber said that during his time on the Roslyn school board, he was able to find ways to cut spending and increase revenues for the district, including cooperative agreements with other school districts for student busing rather than paying individually and negotiating how much money school districts receive from MSG Varsity for broadcasting rights to sports content.
He also said that he helped improve the school district’s bidding process for contracts to receive more bids and get more competitive prices.
“I put those things in place and showed how we can save money,” Haber said. “Since I’ve been on the board in Roslyn, there’s over 50 full K-12 districts in Nassau, we have the lowest tax levy increase of any school district in Nassau County and we haven’t lost a teacher and expanded services.”
He also suggested that school districts consider giving employees  $500 to $1,000 for coming up with an idea that would save a district “10 times the amount of money.”
In terms of allocating state funding for school districts, Haber said there should be a minimum for how much funding a school district can receive and that there should be a standard set so no child has a “substandard education.”
He admitted that there was “never going to be 100 percent parity” where Long Island receives all of the funding it deserves, but said he was concerned with supporting schools in the “black and brown communities that are always second fiddle, who have good teachers, but don’t have the financial wherewithal to take it to the next level.”
Haber, who served on the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which oversees the county budget, said the high taxes in the county are one of his biggest concerns.
He said he is in favor of a permanent tax cap and said the county bidding process for contracts and permitting process for developments needed to improve.
Before he stepped down from the NIFA board, Haber said, he suggested the county place its bids on the New York State bidding registry rather than just the county website.
“There’s so much thievery, for lack of a better word, because the process is opaque,” he said. “I think the more eyes involved, the more people involved, the more transparent, the more people feel the government is working for them, the easier it will be to invest and bring investment here.”
A quicker process for those seeking permits to build developments and start businesses, Haber said, would reduce taxes.
“If you expand the tax base and more money is being spent, there’s more tax revenue,” he said. “Nassau County is a sales tax driven model, the more investment you have the more money there is to tax.”
Haber, a former commodities trader and restaurateur, said that companies have been leaving New York because of how difficult it is to operate a successful business and he wanted to see more major companies coming into the state.
While he is “socially a Democrat,” Haber said that there is “nobody with a background like me in the Legislature who is capable of finding the savings, bringing companies here, talking the talk that businesses want to hear.”
Tourism, he said, is one of the best ways to both promote Long Island and increase revenue.
Haber said two of his plans are to create a World Series of Softball where teams from across the country come for a week to compete and create a “professional bike race” that starts in Port Washington and goes east to Suffolk County, which would be a weekend filled with food, music and entertainment.
“We have the best beaches in the world, great golf courses and parks,” he said. “I want to create state-of-the-art sporting events that attract the next generation to come here.”
Haber added that he has “fresh perspectives” on how to generate revenue and that most politicians only look to raising taxes or cutting jobs to balance budgets.
He said he would fight to stop political corruption by setting a 12-year term limit for legislators, eliminating the LLC loophole, which allows an individual or a single entity to give multiple donations to a political campaign, and reducing the amount of money individuals and corporations can donate to political campaigns.
Haber also said he was in favor of an “independent counsel” to review outside income legislators receive to ensure that any other job they have was not associated with government.
“I’m hoping to be the kindling and the match that helps spark a renewed interest in good government,” he said.
Haber said he is an advocate for the environment and would seek to place solar panels on the roofs of schools rather than cutting trees and forest areas out east for a solar wind farm.
Clean water, he said, was another of his concerns, calling for recycling expired medication and investing in sewage infrastructure.
Haber said he was not in support or opposed to the Long Island Rail Road’s proposal for a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville as of now and wanted the “process to play itself out.”
He said residents in the communities affected by the project have unanswered questions and that he would support what his constituents wanted.
“I think the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear down there. As a guy who negotiated his whole life, when you start at ‘no,’ you can’t go back,” Haber said. “But when you start at ‘we’ve given you the opportunity, now no,’ you have tremendous leverage to try and advocate for your community.”
Haber said he would support codifying Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court ruling that states could not outlaw or regulate abortions performed during the first trimester of pregnancy, as state legislation.
He touted his record in community involvement, serving as a Little League baseball coach, on the oversight committee for the Park at East Hills and the budget and finance advisory committee for the Roslyn school district and his creation of the Nassau County Suggestion Box, which allows citizens to voice concerns about government, and Project Long Island, which delivered supplies and services after Superstorm Sandy.
Haber said that comparing himself to Phillips is like “apples to oranges” when looking at their experiences.
“I have never heard of her or seen her at a meeting or heard anybody talk about her until she decided to run on June 30,” he said. “She has a $3 million budget with a few employees. Roslyn schools has a $104 million budget.”
Haber said voters should vote for him to replace outgoing state Sen. Jack Martins, a Republican, because of his experience, high energy, unique ideas and love for Long Island.
“Everything you do isn’t a success, you need to take risks and learn from them,” he said. “I think I’ve got a skill set and background that’s second to none and the desire that I have to help our community in positive ways is ‘refreshing and unique’ is what I hear on a regular basis.”

By Joe Nikic

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