A Letter from New Yorkers for Growth
Dear Friends of Fiscal Sanity,
New Yorkers for Growth applauds Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano in his efforts to end Nassau’s reliance on debt — and for his efforts to begin paying it off.
Nassau County carries the highest debt burden of all counties in New York State with $3 billion outstanding, about $2,000 per person! The next highest is Suffolk County at $1.35 billion.<!–more–>
For more than a decade, Nassau County’s broken tax assessment system led to the County borrowing an average of $101 million a year, as County officials stuck their heads in the sand on a bipartisan basis. One of the nation’s richest counties teetered on the verge of bankruptcy.
Successive County administrations had ignored obvious issues with the Nassau County assessment system which caused many homeowners and businesses to be paying higher taxes than necessary. Taxpayers were forced to sue to reduce their assessments year after year, while the County did nothing to help. Compounding the problem, the County Charter required the County to guarantee tax payments to school districts and town governments, justifying the County borrowing every year to cover the guarantees. The County did not collect 83% of the underlying payments, creating an annual financial mess.
Until now that is. Mangano proposed, and the County legislature passed, a plan to repeal the County guarantee, to freeze tax assessments, to resolve assessment disputes before demanding payment, and to require the assessor to enter corrected values so that over-assessments do nor recur year after year. But much more needs to be done. Mr. Mangano plans to pay off $1.6 billion of the County’s debt and to end borrowing — without raising property taxes — by 2015. Let’s hope he can get that done. Nassau is a tough fix, but County Executive Mangano is working overtime to address its challenges. He deserves our help and encouragement for his efforts.
We also need to support him in his efforts to tame Nassau’s out-of-control police union. Prior County administrations have saddled Nassau taxpayers with police pay and benefits approaching an average of $250,000 a year per officer, six-weeks vacation, 3-day work weeks, and free health care. To change the situation with County police, Nassau — and indeed many other cities and counties throughout New York — need the State legislature to reform laws governing public employee contract negotiations, specifically the Triborough Law and binding arbitration statutes. Despite a lot of talk, Albany has done nothing on mandate relief, the biggest of which are all the State laws tilting the bargaining table in favor of public employee unions and against taxpayers.
To learn more about County Executive Mangano or to contribute to his campaign, please visitwww.edmangano.com
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