Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Republican challenger James O’Connor debated live on News 12 Long Island from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Newsday provided regular updates throughout the debate on Spin Cycle.

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Bellone: "When I came into office four years ago, the county was facing the worst fiscal crisis in its history."

O'Connor: "Suffolk County has gone over a fiscal cliff."

On how to reduce taxes:

Bellone: “We’ve streamlined government ... On each
reform initiative, we’ve received significant pushback every step of the way.”

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O'Connor: "It starts with a $400 million contract my opponent awarded to three police unions. If you don't address those, you're merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and putting Band-Aid on a gaping wound."

O’Connor: "My opponent inherited a budget that cut positions."

Bellone: “The people he looks to join have tried to block those efficiencies."

Bellone: "We need to grow the economy. We have a plan called Connect Long Island ... We have to be able to move around without getting in a car every time."

O'Connor: "Jobs are not leaving Long Island because there aren't enough bike lanes on Nicolls Road."

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Bellone: "The only thing of substance he’s said is put a fiscal control board in place. I understand he was an elected official in Nassau County. I don’t think importing ideas from Nassau is good policy. What would you do?"

O’Connor: "A fiscal control board would allow us to freeze salaries and save
hundreds of millions of dollars."

Bellone: "Nassau has had a fiscal control board for 16 years. These are crutches for politicians to avoid making tough decisions."

O'Connor on improving infrastructure: "Until we get fiscal house in order" it will be hard to do anything else.

Bellone on police salaries: "We have agreement that [police] salaries have gotten out of control. Disagreement on how we got there."

O'Connor: "You gave the police union a $400 million contract with a 28 percent raise, that the legislature's own budget review office says will make it extremely challenging to budget in 2017 and 2018."

On what to do about heroin addiction:

O’Connor: "I support cooperation between Suffolk County and federal authorities. We've seen a breakdown in cooperation that has hurt us."

Bellone: "We've worked with schools ... My deputy Tim Sini has worked with Sheriff
Vincent DeMarco on very promising programs at the jail."