It now looks like Nassau County residents will go to the polls on August 1, 2011 and reject the referendum authorizing Nassau County to borrow 400 million dollars through the issuance of bonds over the next 30 years to build a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Minor League Baseball Stadium near the site of the current home of the New York Islanders in Uniondale, New York. The anticipated "No" vote is being influenced by the current national debate over whether to and under what circumstances to raise the debt limit, a growing general objection to big government and the lack of a concrete plan and revenue sharing agreement to make certain Nassau County taxpayers don't end up having to pay for shortfalls in anticipated revenue.
Dr. Tom Stevens, Long Island Libertarians Chair, stated:
There is no question the 39 year old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is in a state of disrepair and I would not blame the New York Islanders if they left Nassau County to find a new home when their lease expires in 2015. While it is true that approval of this 400 million dollar bond issue will keep the New York Islanders in Nassau County and build a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Minor League Baseball Stadium, it comes with considerable risks to the taxpayers of Nassau County.
Nassau County residents need to see a viable redevelopment plan and revenue sharing agreement providing a high degree of confidence that revenue generated by the county will be able to repay these bonds with interest without leaving Nassau County taxpayers holding the bag. Ed Mangano, Nassau County Executive, and Charles Wang, Islanders' owner, need to sit down and work out an agreement that is acceptable to the Islanders while raising enough revenue to not only cover the bonds but also to bring a profit to Nassau County residents that will ultimately bring down property taxes and solve the fiscal crisis the county currently faces.
Mangano & Wang could write a new agreement increasing the percentage of revenue the county is expected to get or it could add new sources of revenue such as letting the county run the parking lot. However, I favor a grand redevelopment plan that would not only include the building of a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Minor League Baseball Stadium but also the building of a Convention Center and a Casino with restaurants, buffets, high-end shopping and on-site entertainment venues such as a Comedy Club and a Cabaret. Such a Casino (with an aviation theme) would create new jobs and a guaranteed revenue stream to finance the building of the Coliseum, Stadium and Convention Center. Other revenue-generating world-class entertainment and sports complexes could also be build over a period of years.
The most important point is that if Nassau County intends to redevelop this site, it must do so with Nassau County taxpayers' best interests in mind.
Long Island Libertarians is a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians and is active in Kings County, Queens County, Nassau County and Suffolk County.