Under pressure from [a watchdog] authority, [Tea Party/Republican County Executive] Mr. Mangano’s Democratic predecessor, Thomas R. Suozzi, raised property taxes, shrank the county work force and reduced the county’s reliance on borrowing to pay for operating costs.Seriously - read the whole thing.
But as the economy faltered in 2007, Mr. Suozzi, eyeing statewide office, began relying heavily on one-shot revenue generators.
He won short-term concessions from unions, like deferred salary increases, by extending a no-layoff guarantee through 2011. He resorted to borrowing to pay one of the county’s always onerous bills: the refunds given to residents who appeal their property tax assessments. And last year, up for re-election, he sidestepped a property tax increase by imposing a 2.5 percent tax on home heating bills.
That handed Mr. Mangano a campaign issue, which he rode into office. If he had any mandate, it was to scrap the heating bill tax and, as he put it, restore confidence in county government.
As things turned out, though, “Those two promises turned out to be at odds,” said Lawrence Levy, an expert on suburban politics at Hofstra University.
Mr. Mangano got rid of the energy tax. But he never came up with offsetting spending cuts. That sets him apart from Republicans elected in New Jersey and in Westchester County last year, who have warred with unions and made painful cuts in services.