Work with us
Partly Cloudy,67°
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Michael Zapson
Mangano is sending Nassau County back to the bad old days

I’ve been reading former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato’s last few columns, extolling the virtues of Republican County Executive Ed Mangano. D’Amato, a Republican, represents a half-dozen companies that, coincidentally, are doing business with Mangano and the Nassau County government. I was a Nassau County legislator during our last fiscal crisis, under Republican County Executive Tom Gulotta, and I can’t help but think that we’re slipping back to the bad old days under Mangano.

Let’s remember that when former County Executive Tom Suozzi came into office in 2002, the county’s finances were in disarray. We were rated the “worst-run county in America.” But Suozzi, who is now running for county executive against Mangano, cleaned things up, putting the county back on sound fiscal footing.

Suozzi reduced borrowing, cut the county’s debt and had eight straight years of verified balanced budgets. He reduced the county’s work force by more than 11 percent, and did it without a single layoff.

Don’t take my word for it, or Senator D’Amato’s; look at what outside observers say about Nassau’s finances. Under Suozzi’s leadership, independent credit rating agencies (Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s) gave Nassau County 13 consecutive bond rating upgrades, the most of any municipality, county or state in the country over that same period. Under Mangano, these same credit rating agencies downgraded the county’s credit three consecutives times, the first time that had happened in more than a decade.

In just three and a half years, Mangano has turned Nassau into a county in crisis, dependent on debt, staring down at a financial implosion of historic proportions. Mangano and the county Republican Party machine have cracked the financial foundation that it took Suozzi and the Democrats eight years to rebuild.

Instead of building a better Nassau, Mangano used the same shovel as Gulotta did to dig us back into the hole Suozzi inherited when he first took office. Mangano has borrowed more than $2 billion, taken out the largest “cash advance” in Nassau County history and maxed out the county’s “credit cards,” increasing the county’s debt to the highest level in history.


5 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Do we really what to have taxes raised another 23% under Suozzi ?????????

Thursday, October 10, 2013 | Report this

It's unfortunate that Michael Zapson is engaging in revisionist history rather than being honest about Tom Suozzi's record. Suozzi raised property taxes by 23% on Nassau County homeowners and businesses. He instituted a Home Energy Tax on everyting you could use to heat your home from oil and natural gas, to firewood. He passed a four-year plan to raise taxes on homeowners and businesses an additional 16.5%, which would have gone into effect had he won re-election four years ago. He bloated the size of County government, hiring an unprecedented number of patronage positions.

Suozzi was able to "balance his budgets" only because the Nassau Interim Finance Authority allowed Tom Suozzi to count money that the County BORROWED as revenue - an accounting practice that would land any CFO in hot water with independent regulatory authorities. In reality, Suozzi's strategy was not to tackle the structural imbalances that threatened Nassau County's financial future - it was to kick the can down the road as far as he could, hoping he would be Governor before it exploded. As a result, Ed Mangano inherited a $347 million dollar deficit and a County on the fast-track to becoming the next Detroit.

In the meantime, Nassau homeowners and businesses struggled to stay afloat. Mangano had a different solution - hold the line on taxes to give families and businsses a break, and actually make the tough choices necessary to bring Nassau County back from the brink. As a result, 16.5% Suozzi real property tax hike never occurrred. The Suozzi-Denenberg Home Energy Tax was repealed, and the 347 million dollar Suozzi budget deficit turned into a 40 million dollar surplus while CUTTING taxes. Nassau County has the lowest unemployment in the region and sales tax revenue is steadily increasing due to increased economic activity and an improved business environment. The Suozzi Administration engaged in unprecedented borrowing to meet operating expenses - about 2.5 Billion dollars from 2006-2009. Mangano has reduced County borrowing by nearly 50%.

Someone looking for the "bad old days", need only to look to Tom Suozzi. Under Mangano - there's light at the end of the tunnel. Under Suozzi, that "light" will be an oncoming train. Michael Zapson, of course, is entitled to his own opinion - but he is not entitled to his own facts. If you look at the facts, returning Tom Suozzi and a Democrat majority to the Nassau County Legislature is a formula for economic disaster for middle-class families and businesses.

Steve Rhoads

Thursday, October 10, 2013 | Report this

Steve Rhoads leaves a very lengthy comment but fails to note that he is running for a County Legislature Seat this November on the Republican Line.

Therefore his entire comment must be viewed in that context.

My advice to Mr. Rhoads is don't forget to include the fact that you are actively seeking election in any additional posts you might find yourself commenting.

Friday, October 11, 2013 | Report this

"Nassauresident" complains about Steve Rhoads' post (solely because Mr. Rhoads is a Republican) but can't dispute a single fact posted by Mr. Rhaods. However, this entire article is written by the chairman of the Long Beach Democratic Committee, so, to quote Nassauresident, this entire article must be viewed in that context.

Saturday, October 12, 2013 | Report this

Sadly, none of the commenters here are really addressing the problems with Nassau County. In 2002 when Tom Suozzi took office as county executive the county was in junk-bond status. Nassau could no longer borrow its way out of the fiscal crisis it was facing. There was no choice but to raise taxes on the residents. To pretend that raising taxes is a bad thing is ignorant. It is at times a necessary to do so. In 2010 when Mangano became county executive he sued to get rid of NIFA, when that was unsuccessful he went to the finance Authority and requested a wage freeze on all employees in addition to layoffs. The savings from the layoffs, attrition and wage freeze has totaled over $200 million. But his reckless spending has put us further into budget deficit. There have been many federal and state grants lost due to his administration's bumbling, sales tax has increased but that money has also been lost due to poor budgetary skills. I am no fan of either candidate, however it is very clear when you read the facts, who might have a shot of saving Nassau from bankruptcy. Both of you political hacks do me a favor and stop playing with our lives. It is the responsibility journalist to lay out the facts not skew them for your own benefit. The problem with Nassau's finances are the extraordinarily high school taxes as well as the broken assessment situation. Neither candidate during their tenure as county executive has even attempted to fix this problem. Until this is addressed I fear that we are on our way to bankruptcy just like Detroit..

Saturday, October 12, 2013 | Report this
Terms of Use | Advertising | Careers | Contact Us | Community Links © 2016 Richner Communications, Inc.