NY state seizes Nassau county finances

It's one of the richest counties in the country with one of the highest tax rates for residents and they still can't find enough money to make one and one add up to two.

New York Times:


A state oversight board on Wednesday seized control of Nassau County's finances, saying the county, one of the nation's wealthiest and most heavily taxed, had nonetheless failed to balance its $2.7 billion budget.

Many hard-hit local governments have flirted with insolvency because of revenue shortfalls caused by the recession, but the financial problems of Nassau, on Long Island, owed more to a failure by county officials to face up to tough economic reality responsibly and quickly enough, according to the state board.
"The county's 2011 budget is built on a foundation of sand," a board member, George J. Marlin, said.

The move, which came after months of steadily more ominous threats and a downgrade of Nassau's debt by a credit-rating agency in November, turns the oversight board into a control board, with vast power to rewrite the county's budget and veto labor contracts, borrowings and other important financial commitments.

The county executive, a Republican, had been saying the budget was balanced and that all is well for months. The oversight board made him out to be a liar in record time:

Mr. Mangano had repeatedly said the budget was balanced, and then insisted there were ample contingencies to cover any shortfalls. But the authority said that many of his assertions were unfounded or unsupportable.

Should the county choose to work closely with the authority, it could seek to reopen talks with labor unions, emboldened and newly empowered by that alliance. But the response from the county on Wednesday was adversarial in tone.

"Who elected them?" asked the county attorney, John Ciampoli, referring to the authority.

Mr. Mangano, speaking to reporters after the board's decision, said he was considering a lawsuit to block the takeover, accused the authority of wanting to raise property taxes and urged taxpayers to question its "motivation." He has accused the board members of having partisan Democratic sympathies.

Republican, Democratic, it doesn't matter. Politicians who can't face up to their responsibilities - especially in the 10th richest county in American - deserve to be treated as children and supervised to make sure they behave.

Expect a lot more of this kind of thing nationwide.



It's one of the richest counties in the country with one of the highest tax rates for residents and they still can't find enough money to make one and one add up to two.

New York Times:


A state oversight board on Wednesday seized control of Nassau County's finances, saying the county, one of the nation's wealthiest and most heavily taxed, had nonetheless failed to balance its $2.7 billion budget.

Many hard-hit local governments have flirted with insolvency because of revenue shortfalls caused by the recession, but the financial problems of Nassau, on Long Island, owed more to a failure by county officials to face up to tough economic reality responsibly and quickly enough, according to the state board.

"The county's 2011 budget is built on a foundation of sand," a board member, George J. Marlin, said.

The move, which came after months of steadily more ominous threats and a downgrade of Nassau's debt by a credit-rating agency in November, turns the oversight board into a control board, with vast power to rewrite the county's budget and veto labor contracts, borrowings and other important financial commitments.

The county executive, a Republican, had been saying the budget was balanced and that all is well for months. The oversight board made him out to be a liar in record time:

Mr. Mangano had repeatedly said the budget was balanced, and then insisted there were ample contingencies to cover any shortfalls. But the authority said that many of his assertions were unfounded or unsupportable.

Should the county choose to work closely with the authority, it could seek to reopen talks with labor unions, emboldened and newly empowered by that alliance. But the response from the county on Wednesday was adversarial in tone.

"Who elected them?" asked the county attorney, John Ciampoli, referring to the authority.

Mr. Mangano, speaking to reporters after the board's decision, said he was considering a lawsuit to block the takeover, accused the authority of wanting to raise property taxes and urged taxpayers to question its "motivation." He has accused the board members of having partisan Democratic sympathies.

Republican, Democratic, it doesn't matter. Politicians who can't face up to their responsibilities - especially in the 10th richest county in American - deserve to be treated as children and supervised to make sure they behave.

Expect a lot more of this kind of thing nationwide.



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