Counties' borrowing plan hits apparent dead end

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 A bid by Suffolk and Nassau counties to gain state permission to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to cover lingering debts is dead, a key lawmaker said Tuesday.

The proposal drew significant political opposition and state lawmakers said they could not reach an agreement on the initiative — which would have allowed each county to issue bonds up to $500 million.  Backers said the counties needed more financial flexibility to recover from superstorm Sandy. But with three days left in the 2013 legislative session, the proposal apparently has hit a dead end.

“Suffolk is no longer requesting it,” said Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), dean of the Suffolk Assembly delegation.

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The state Senate introduced a bill late Monday night to allow for the borrowing and Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said it was still being discussed. But the Assembly failed to introduce the measure, a sign showing its reluctance.

A day earlier, Nassau Democrats assailed the plan, saying it would allow the Mangano administration to sidestep the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state panel that controls county finances.

Suffolk and Nassau officials have said Suffolk originated the proposal.


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