Mangano could use our help
To the Editor:
With all due respect to Sen. Al D’Amato (“The lessons we learn from those we’ve lost,” Sept. 27-Oct. 3), County Executive Ed Mangano has not been backed into a corner by political partisanship; he has backed himself into a corner because his far-fetched, long-shot solutions to Nassau County’s problems lack any credibility.
My Democratic colleagues and I have always stood ready to work with Mangano to do what is right for county taxpayers. The problem is that Mangano and his team operate in secret, without full transparency, and most of the time attempt to circumvent the power of the Legislature or the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.
When NIFA threatened to initiate a county takeover, Mangano foolishly wasted taxpayer money by suing to stop it, proclaiming that his 2011 budget was balanced. Then, when the books were finally closed, we discovered that, despite his rosy predictions, Mangano’s numbers were a fantasy, and 2011 ended with a $50 million deficit.
County Comptroller George Maragos projects that 2012 will end with a $45 million deficit.
Recently, Mangano again claimed that his 2013 budget is balanced, but at this point, how can we trust him when his first two phony budgets have plunged Nassau deeper into debt?
The sewer privatization, which Senator D’Amato praised so highly, is essentially a $750 million loan that will be paid back by Nassau homeowners in the form of a new sewer tax. This loan, which has been unanimously rejected by NIFA, will only add to Nassau’s astounding $3 billion debt.
Finally, let’s not forget that the ultimate act of political partisanship was orchestrated last year by Mangano and the Republican Legislature, who eagerly sought to draw new legislative district boundaries that would give their party a supermajority for the next decade. Their plan to move 500,000 residents into new districts and fracture longstanding communities was eventually struck down by the State Court of Appeals.
Senator D’Amato claimed that we have refused to cross party lines to support Mangano, but he failed to mention that we unanimously supported the privatization of our bus system and have supported early-retirement initiatives to reduce the work force and save the county money.
It’s time for all parties to come together and do the people’s work. I ask that our county executive and my Republican colleagues in the Legislature put aside the partisanship that is meant to marginalize my party and the people we represent. Instead, let’s all work on solutions that will once again make Nassau County a place that people flock to, not flee from.