Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called on the Legislature to “shorten their summer vacation” on Tuesday so they can return to vote on a measure she proposed that would provide eligible homeowners with direct payments of $ 375.
Curran’s proposal, also known as the Household Assistance Program, would provide direct payments to more than 400,000 homeowners due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislature, which has been on recess since Aug. 2, is not expected to return for “weeks,” according to Curran.
“Instead of waiting a few more weeks and delaying the process even further, let’s take action now,” Curran said Tuesday. “The household assistance scheme will not only help those who continue to struggle, but will also give a significant boost to our local economy. “
Households whose total income does not exceed $ 500,000 and who have evidence of suffering a negative economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic will also be eligible for the payment, Curran said.
Documents such as receipts for unemployment benefits, food or housing insecurity, increased childcare costs, coronavirus-related death costs or unreimbursed distance work / learning costs can be submitted through the Boost Nassau online portal.
Payments will only be sent to homeowners who already benefit from the state’s enhanced STAR or STAR exemptions, officials said.
Curran’s proposal to provide homeowners with direct payments has been in the works since late spring. Curran introduced amended plans to the Republican-controlled legislature in late July that would send one-off payments to households with total income of up to $ 168,900, a revision of the original plans to distribute payments to households whose total income does not exceed not $ 500,000. offered in May.
After Curran’s initial proposal, members of the legislative majority responded to concerns and called for more clarity on the proposal from county officials during a hearing in June.
Some of the questions posed by President Rich Nicollelo (R-New Hyde Park) to the seven representatives of the Curran administration went unanswered.
Nicolello’s investigation of whether anyone in the administration had sought advice from Treasury consultants or legal counsel on whether the payments would be feasible was met with silence.
“In my 25 years here, I’ve never seen this before,” said Nicolello of the lack of responses from administration officials. “The problem is, in case you are unable to issue these checks, as the county executive told people on May 17th, we will at some point have to explain it to county residents. of Nassau. “
Majority spokesman Chris Boyle said the legislature will make sure everything is in order before any approval is given.
“After the county executive had to modify its original plan because it had not obtained advice, and after the failures of the roll-out of the assessment, the majority will do their due diligence to ensure that ‘This is not another botched initiative,’ Boyle said. said in an email to Blank Slate Media.
Hempstead Town Councilor Bruce Blakeman, a Republican who is running against Curran for the county manager position this year, has compared direct payments to “peanuts” in various Facebook ads.
Curran responded at his press conference, saying his plan “is not peanuts.”