With nearly four months to go before voters head to the polls to choose a new county executive, punches are already being thrown in the race between County Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone.
Democratic operatives called on the GOP to take down the website bigtaxbellone.com, arguing that the site is full of false charges.
A Carpenter spokesman, however, said all of the information on the website was "verified and re-verified" by county Republicans, and added the biggest issue he could see was the name of the site itself.
"What are we complaining about exactly, that he got called a name?" asked Carpenter campaign manager Rick Belyea. "We're just saying he raises taxes. Should we call him 'A-Lot-of-Tax Bellone?' 'More-Tax-Than-You're-Telling-Us Bellone?'
"Nobody wants anything to go negative," Belyea added. "But at some point, both candidates are going to have to defend their records. That's not negative, that's how it works."
Members of the Bellone campaign didn't refute specific statistics on the website, which features a video of Bellone on a roller coaster, going up and down various charts. In the video, Republicans said Bellone has "broken the backs of residents and driven away businesses."
But a report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy shows much of Babylon Town's tax increases are tied to higher school spending. The Town doesn't control school budgets; they are independently operated by districts, including Lindenhurst, Babylon North Babylon, West Babylon and Deer Park.
"Everyone will get into the nitty gritty as we move foreward," said Dave Hoffman, a Bellone spokesman. "The takeaway here is that they're going negative first. We were hoping to discuss intelligent issues."
Hoffman also cited a robo-call put out to Suffolk County residents, which includes Carpenter's voice, asking them to visit bigtaxbellone.com.