Suffolk lawmaker slams 'back-door taxes'
A Suffolk County legislator is calling for a cap on fee increases in the county, arguing that fees are being used as a substitute for taxes.
It comes as the Suffolk Legislature is expected to approve a $300 increase in the county's mortgage fee, which would apply to first and second mortgages, as well as refinancing. The measure is part of County Executive Steve Bellone's 2017 spending plan.
Republican Legislator Robert Trotta is opposed to the fee and says it's really a "back-door tax."
"They're using fees disguised as taxes," Trotta says. "This is not the answer. I cannot stress this enough, this is why people are leaving Long Island."
Trotta says the answer is to enact a 2 percent cap, to limit how much fees can be increased.
A county spokeswoman said in a statement, "Capping increases in fees without knowing what the cost of service or administration will be does not represent prudent fiscal planning. Revenue caps restrict flexibility, hampering a government's ability to respond to unforeseen negative events. It is preferable to take budgetary action as needed and not impose rigid revenue caps."