6.26.2007

Is Levy Getting His Comeuppance? Part 3: The Outline of a Deal

The battle between the State Legislature’s black and Hispanic caucus and the Suffolk County executive, Steve Levy, who has crusaded against illegal immigration, intensified on Monday when he warned of mass layoffs, tax increases and cuts in county programs unless they can resolve an impasse over immigration and sales taxes.

The flare-up erupted when the caucus successfully pushed to table the continuation of a sales tax for Suffolk County. Accusing Levy of raising racial tensions in Suffolk County through his harsh treatment of undocumented Latino workers, the caucus insists on trading the sales tax for a state-sponsored hiring hall to be opened in Suffolk County. The caucus believed it had a deal, but Levy denies that he would ever entertain such a thing.

But just as quickly, it appeared that both sides are looking for a way out of their unprecedented predicament.

Assemblyman Darryl C. Towns, chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus: “It was never our intention to cause the citizens of Suffolk a hardship.”

County Executive Levy: “We don’t have the authority” to ban hiring halls that do not involve county land or money. “A county level of government cannot dictate what happens at another level. Reasonable minds can differ on the issue of hiring halls and immigration.”
So it looks as though both sides my be getting what they really want: Levy gets his sales tax and the opportunity to say that he beat back the minority legislators, and the caucus gets Levy to say that it stood-up to Levy and got him to agree not to disrupt the establishment of a state-sponsored hiring hall.

Question. But who has Phil Ramos' back?

Also read LEVY VS. CAUCUS A $300M MESS? and Immigration Dispute May Force Tax Increase in Suffolk.