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Shelter Island Reporter editorial: Getting the job done

We live in a time when, on the national level, many politicians seem to have forgotten their roles as representatives elected to create and enact policies for the betterment of their constituents. (Forgotten, or maybe never realized in the first place, the purpose of their office.)

Instead, drunk on the intoxicating allure of media, they are poor players dedicating themselves to strutting and fretting their hours upon the stage — on the Left poking the MAGA bear, and on the Right triggering the Libs. What fun.

On the local level we have a representative who has, over a long career, worked to create those beneficial policies, and seen them come alive for the benefit of all those he represents.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) is continuing his record of innovative ideas put before the public, most recently with a win in the Assembly to provide a $3 billion-plus investment to expand wastewater treatment and nitrogen-reducing septic systems.

With some officials talking a big game and doing nothing, and others wringing their hands, Mr. Thiele is getting deep into the details to clean up our water supply and putting forward practical solutions. As Julie Lane’s report this week states: “If the new legislation is approved by the New York State Senate and signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), it would … place a referendum on the November ballot for Suffolk County voters to choose to participate in a program that would allow a .0125% increase to the county sales tax providing money for upgrading existing individual septic systems. That added sales tax would end in 2060.”

The thought of raising taxes — even that incredibly tiny additional sales tax — often gives those strutting player-politicians an opportunity to scream bloody murder.

This is not to say that true Conservatives — no matter how often certain elements of the Left delight in demonizing them —  don’t have ideas that should be listened to when it comes to taxes. (Note we say “true” Conservatives, and not MAGA imposters.)

But we feel that living on the East End, every reasonable person understands that something needs to be done — and now — to clean up the water we drink, and that takes money.

Some residents and business owners railed against Mr. Thiele when, as the architect of legislation creating the Community Preservation Fund, which puts a small tax on buyers of property to fund land preservation, he shepherded it into law 25 years ago. The CPF tax has generated close to $1.5 billion since the turn of the century for preservation and water quality improvement projects.

Without it, Shelter Island and the East End would be so much more crowded with houses and developments, and much more gray than green.

We wholeheartedly support Mr. Thiele’s initiative, and urge the State Senate to present the bill to the governor to sign into law.