Looking for the third way

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Suozzi, who raised taxes 19.4 percent in 2002, says that while Mangano has not raised taxes on current residents, he has, in effect, raised taxes on the county’s children, because of the borrowing Mangano has done in lieu of tax increases. Suozzi also said that Mangano’s increases in fees are “back-door tax increases equal to a 20 percent tax hike for residents.”

Both politicians should know that residents already understand that too much borrowing is bad, and that increasing taxes is a non-starter in this barely growing economy. We have established that both men cut the size of government. We stipulate that neither more taxes nor more debt is a healthy solution.

Budgets are financial plans based on expected spending and anticipated revenue. The revenue comes in the forms of property taxes, fees, borrowed money, state or federal aid and the county’s portion of sales taxes. Are both Mangano and Suozzi waiting, like we all are, for a better economy to improve sales-tax revenue and solve the budget problems?

Instead of just bashing each other’s records, they should each reveal their plan for a third way, other than borrowing and taxes, to solve the county’s fiscal problems.

The third way must include increasing commercial development while preserving what’s best about suburbia. Suozzi has overseen some grand projects in the past, but what will he do to actually accomplish his visions, and without costing taxpayers more? What will Mangano do to move beyond what many see as mundane leadership to accomplish grander, more revenue-generating, pie-enlarging projects?

Residents already know how they fared under both county executives. What they want to know is how, with realistic specifics, not blather, each candidate intends to improve the county.

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