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'Keep LI separate,' biz leaders say.

The Association for a Better Long Island hailed the bi-partisan actions of the Long Island Congressional delegation to successfully fight the decision by the United States Commerce Department and the Office of Management and Budget to destroy Long Island's separate economic identity.

ABLI Executive Director, Desmond Ryan, stated, "Had the Congressional delegation not been successfull, the region would have been dumped into the same statistical pool as New York City, Westchester, Rockland and other tri-state counties. It would have been a disaster for Long Island and their actions speaks to the effectiveness of a Congressional delegation that ignores partisan politics for the good of the region."

The ABLI has been working with all members of the delegation since January when Commerce and OMB quietly changed Long Island's status.

Congressman Gary Ackerman told the ABLI that the loss of Long Island's identity in the eyes of Washington bureaucrats would have had a profound impact on the region's ability to obtain millions of dollars in areas that range from highway transportation funds to housing to AIDS treatment.

Congressman David Levy stated that it was an issue that knows no partisan boundaries. "This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. For example, Congressman Gary Ackerman, a Democrat who sits across the aisle in the House, is as strong on this issue as I am, a proud Republican. This was a delegation committed to working together on an issue of critical importance to every one of our constituents."

Ryan was particularly concerned about the impact it would have as the ABLI, and local government officials, seek to attract new companies to Long Island's corporate and industrial parks. "Without the ability to break out Long Island's statistics from the tri-state pack, it would have been tougher to demonstrate to growth companies what enormous advantages the region can offer emerging firms. The real estate community, which makes up over a third of Long Island's economy, desperately needs this data for marketing ammunition."

Congressman Levy observed that the Department of OMB made the change at a time when the Congress and the Administration were in transition. "It would not appear that the timing was coincidental. They were hoping it would be an issue that would slide by during the hectic days of transition. It didn't and the delegation was not about to sit idly by."

Technically, the OMB eliminated Long Island's designation as a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA). This designation provides crucially-important information such as population trends, labor market changes, education expenditures, housing characteristics, retail sales trends and the age and educational levels of Long Island's work force.

Thomas Conoscenti, as chief economist for the ABLI, declared: "The bean-counting bureaucrats of the Commerce Department mugged Long Island and tried to hijack its hard-earned economic identity. The Long Island Congressional delegation nabbed the guys and put things right.

"Long Island's prominence in the high-tech and bio-tech industries, its leadership position in disposable family income and retail sales, its educational excellence and its valuable symbiotic relationship with New York City would have all been relegated to the nether world of statistical analysis," he noted.

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) whose members include some of the region's leading lawyers, retailers, and developers, represent some $15 billion in commercial, industrial and residential real estate assets in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
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Title Annotation:Real Estate Transcript; Association for a Better Long Island applauds success of Long Island Congressional delegation in fight to retain separate economic identity for Long Island, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 14, 1993
Words:555
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