For Immediate ReleaseContact: Katie Grilli-Robles, Press Secretary (516) 571-4225February 7, 2011
Statement from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano:
The Nassau County Interim Finance Authority or “NIFA” recently issued a control period over Countyfinances. NIFA is comprised of nonelected and unaccountable individuals appointed by State politicians.Many supporters have asked me if NIFA’s action is politically motivated since its board is comprised of the former Vice-Chairman of the Democrat Party and the political campaign treasurer for the former Democrat Presiding Officer of Nassau County. The Boards statement that the board is bipartisan ishollow as the Republican member is former County Executive Tom Suozzi’s budget director.My supporters and the media should know that I am not concerned whether NIFA is politicallymotivated or bipartisan. What concerns me is that the architects of Nassau's budget mess are now actingas its watchdog.After all, NIFA sat idle for many years as the former County Executive increased property taxes, spentlavishly and negotiated unaffordable labor contracts that have driven Nassau into a fiscal abyss. NIFAsuddenly awoke in January 2010 when I took office. Rather than work with me to close the $133million budget deficit I inherited from by predecessor, NIFA provided critiques but no suggestions.Without their assistance, I turned Nassau’s budget deficit into a surplus. Now, with just 24 days into my first budget, NIFA issued a control period over County finances. Thisunfounded and unfair act has many residents questioning their motives and inability to partner with theCounty to fix Nassau’s problems over the past decade. In fact, Newsday reported a NIFA boardmember stating “There is no way we could partner with him or anybody else because we don't have theauthority to do that.”So, what authority does NIFA have to protect taxpayers? NIFA can freeze wages for County workers.On day one of the control period, NIFA unfortunately announced it would not freeze wages for Countyworkers. This inaction leads many to believe that NIFA has an agenda that isn’t in the best interest of Nassau County residents. This agenda is easy to understand when NIFA has stated time and time againthat they are interested in higher revenue. Where I come from, higher revenue is a code name for higher property taxes!Let me be clear: I will not allow tax hikes to be the solution to Nassau’s financial problems. Fromrepealing the home energy tax to stopping a 16.5% property tax hike, we have come too far and I willnot allow NIFA to take us backward.Last month, I filed a lawsuit on behalf of taxpayers in Nassau County Supreme Court. This lawsuit isaimed at preventing NIFA’s unfounded and unfair takeover of our County’s finances. This action isessential to protect homeowners and employers from higher property taxes.