Spin Cycle

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The Nassau Republican Party has released a new television ad that attacks Democratic County Executive candidate Thomas Suozzi  for hiking property taxes, increasing county borrowing and raising his own salary by $65,000 while in office in 2007.

The 30-second ad, titled the “Real Tom Suozzi,” began airing on television stations across the county on Sept. 5. Nassau GOP spokesman Anthony Santino could not immediately provide details on the ad’s cost or how long it will run.

Suozzi, a former two-term county executive who served from 2002-2009, won the Democratic primary for county executive on Tuesday. Suozzi will take on Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, who narrowly defeated him in 2009, on Nov. 5.

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In the ad, a female narrator criticizes Suozzi for increasing property taxes by 23 percent and for imposing a 2.5 percent tax on all residential home energy sources in 2009. The ad also alleges that Suozzi left taxpayers with $378 million deficit.

“The real Tom Suozzi?” the narrator asks in the ad. “Big tax hikes for us. A big pay raise for himself.”

Suozzi, who recently released a television ad criticizing Mangano for increasing county borrowing, said the ad mischaracterizes his record.

“Tom Suozzi balanced every single budget when he was in office without one deficit -- unlike Ed Mangano who has borrowed over $2 billion, increased debt to record levels, and been downgraded three times by outside agencies for his mismanagement,” said campaign manager Danny Kazin.  “And if Ed Mangano is so disturbed by the bipartisan recommended pay raise, why hasn’t he given the money back?”

Suozzi twice raised property taxes -- by 19.4 percent in 2002 and 3.9 percent in 2009. Suozzi said the first hike was necessary to plug large deficits that had developed under his predecessor, Republican Thomas Gulotta. The second was necessary to help the county through the recession, he said.

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The home energy tax, Suozzi said, was needed to help close a projected deficit caused by declining sales tax revenue after the recession. Mangano rescinded the tax immediately after taking office.

The county’s May 2010 multiyear financial plan stated that Mangano inherited a budget gap of $133 million in 2010 that was projected to grow to $378 million in 2013.

In 2007, a legislative task force recommended the salary increase, arguing Suozzi was paid less than Suffolk's executive.

The ad can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/vgi/review/72850706/ae83fadbe9