Nassau sales tax on home heating expires

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The year-old 2.5 percent sales tax on home energy in Nassau County expired Tuesday, and with it went about $38 million in annual revenue.

"No regrets," County Executive Edward Mangano declared Tuesday. He had signed the repeal on Jan. 1, as he stood at a podium to deliver his inaugural address.

"I have covered that [$38 million] and made up for the loss of revenue in 2010, and although the challenges are large for 2011, I am confident, working with all levels of government, that we are going to turn Nassau County government around," he said.

Republican Mangano had made repeal of the tax a major plank in his campaign last fall against Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who had pushed for it early last year to balance the budget.

After Suozzi conceded defeat to Mangano on Dec. 1, his Democratic allies on the county legislature voted Dec. 21 to repeal that tax, saying they were just helping Mangano fulfill his campaign pledge.

Mangano signed the repeal less than two weeks later, but did not seek a state waiver to end the tax immediately, and instead let it lapse at its anniversary.

Democrats on the legislature Tuesday criticized Mangano on two counts, saying he should have sought the waiver if he truly wanted to save taxpayers' money, and challenging him to be more specific on how to make up for the lost revenue in future years.

"He chose not to. We should be aware that the repeal creates a massive gap in our county budget," she said. "Once they finish the celebration, the administration needs to find a way to fill that gap promptly," Legis. Diane Yatauro of Glen Cove, the Democratic minority leader, said in a statement.

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