Tax Fighting Businessman
By Frank Rizzo
Adam Haber believes he has the background, passion and skill set to make a difference for his constituents and Long Island as a whole in the New York State Legislature.
Haber is running for the New York State Senate District 7 on the Democratic line, along with the Working Families and Women’s Equality party tickets. His opponent is Republican Elaine Phillips, currently the mayor of Flower Hill.
Haber is emphasizing keeping property taxes in check, reforming and supporting public education, cleaning up Albany and protecting the environment.
The East Hills resident touts his extensive business experience and said he gained insights into public budgeting through membership on the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board in control of the county’s finances.
“Out of the 63 state senators, I might be the only one who actually ran a business and had to make payroll,” he said, adding that, “I’m a guy who’s created hundreds of jobs.”
As for the concerns he’s been hearing on the campaign trail, Haber joked that the “one, two, and three issues are taxes, taxes, taxes.”
He is a proponent of the property tax cap and would like to see it become permanent.
“Long Island cannot continue to be the tax engine of the state,” he said.
Haber believes that fiscal responsibility and holding the line on taxes can be achieved by cost-cutting and revenue enhancement through improved government efficiency and transparency.
“I want this [state] to be a good place to do business,” he stated, referring to the studies that allege that the Empire State ranks near the bottom in terms of a business-friendly climate.
He noted that Long Island has 17 percent of the state’s public school enrollment, but gets back only 12 percent of the state funding—and would like to change this state of affairs.
Regarding education, he would like to see changes to Common Core, which he called “the antithesis of good education.” He is also “vehemently” against charter schools.
“Public education is for the public,” he stated, mentioning his stint on the Roslyn School District Board of Education and helping to turn the district’s finances around.
Haber called Albany “a cesspool of corruption,” citing the number of pols indicted for irregularities, including Seanate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“I want an open, transparent process in Albany. I am not beholden to a corrupt machine,” he said.
He believes in term limits, backs comprehensive ethics reform and a change in the law to strip convicted politicians of their state pensions.
Haber, who drives an electric vehicle, stands against the continuing reliance on fossil fuels and backs Governor Andrew Cuomo’s drive to generate 50 percent of the state’s electric needs from renewables by 2030. He would like to see solar panels on every public building roof, supports the offshore wind turbine project and wants to stop the nitrogen leaching that is polluting the Long Island Sound.
Haber’s tag line is simple: “Long Island First.”
Phillips Stands Up And Fights Corruption
Elaine Phillips has been involved in local government for five years and is currently the mayor of Flower Hill. She is the Republican candidate running for New York State Senate in the Seventh District, which represents 32 villages, the largest number of villages in any district in New York State.
Phillips comes from humble beginnings and is a self-made woman. At age 12, her father died and her mom, a worker at the American Legion, had to raise her alone. She is the first in her family to attend college and receive a degree, and knows what it means to be supported through generous community efforts, such as the Rotary Club International. She was a Rotary Exchange Student and attended Penn State University, where she studied political science as an undergraduate and, with a graduate assistantship, earned a graduate degree in finance.
With her first job in the financial-services industry, Phillips relocated to New York City. She later married, had two children and moved to Manhasset 21 years ago.
Phillips is very involved in giving back to her alma mater—a school that gave her so much. She was also on the board of the Science Museum of Long Island and was the first working woman to be president of the Manhasset School Community Association.
Former mayor of the Village of Munsey Park, Harry Nicolaides, invited Phillips to participate in local government when she was appointed to a vacant trustee position, which she accepted. When she subsequently moved to the Village of Flower Hill, she was again asked to fill a vacant seat on the board of trustees and then ran for the office of mayor when the former mayor retired.
“I have enjoyed it immensely,” she said. “Every day I learn something. It is my privilege.”
Phillips also serves as the second vice president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association.
When Senator Jack M. Martins told Phillips he was running for Congress, he asked Phillips to consider taking his seat. “I am honored and I am humbled,” she said. “I believe I have the résumé. I don’t just talk the talk. I talk about affordability and cutting taxes [and] I have cut taxes four years in a row.”
Phillips stands up for hardworking Nassau County families. For first-time home buyers, she has an idea for putting together a program similar to a 529 college-saving plan. She wants to save those paying property taxes $230 million through a state takeover of county Medicaid, as well as bringing back a fair share of state aid to Nassau County schools.
Fiscal responsibility is key with Phillips. “With a New York State budget of $154 billion, it has to have fat,” she said. “We have to have a cap on spending.”
Phillips wants to make government more transparent and fight corruption. She wants to enact term limits, eliminate taxpayer-funded pensions for corrupt politicians, pass tough penalties for big donors that illegally funnel large contributions to politicians, enact tougher ethics laws and restore public faith in government.
Phillips stands up for the environment. Being mayor during Superstorm Sandy when 3,000 tons of tree debris had to be removed, the Village of Flower Hill promotes the planting of trees, which act as a natural filter. She believes in keeping our waters clean and is a staunch supporter of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee. Phillips is also a strong proponent of local government, especially as it relates to the schools and not having the federal government dictate Common Core.
“I am a huge believer in bipartisan politics,” she said. “I don’t believe in a one-party system.”
Having knocked on 7,000-plus doors to meet her constituents, Phillips has heard many stories and listened to what the community needs, which is jobs, lower taxes and making living on Long Island more affordable.