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Mangano vetoes measure that removes his tax hike from 2016 budget

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Friday, Nov.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, vetoes an amendment to his 2016 spending plan passed by county legislators that would have eliminated $12 million in revenue from a tax increase he proposed. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Friday vetoed legislation that removed a 1.2 percent property tax increase from his 2016 budget.

Mangano vetoed an amendment, passed by GOP lawmakers last week, to his $2.95 billion spending plan that eliminated $12 million in revenue from the tax increase. Mangano said the tax hike, which would cost the average homeowner $23 per year, was necessary to balance the budget.

"Due to rising health care costs and adjusted sales tax receipts, the revenue is necessary to meet county obligations," Mangano said in a statement.

Mangano let stand the legislature's repeal of $16 million in revenue from new fee hikes.

Mangano proposed increasing the mortgage recording fee from $150 to $300 and the tax map verification fee from $75 to $225. The GOP legislative majority voted Oct. 29 to cut expected revenue from the fee increases in half.

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) indicated Friday that GOP lawmakers may override the veto, but said she needed to discuss the issue with her caucus. The deadline to override the veto is Nov. 13.

"We appreciate and value the county executive's opinion on our budget," Gonsalves said. "However, we passed a budget that did not raise taxes or cut services and we are confident the county executive can effectively manage within it."

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said his seven members "are against the tax increase and will seek the votes to override the county executive's veto."

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that controls the county's finances, says Mangano's budget has $191 million in risky revenue assumptions.

"Our larger concern is that $12 million is insufficient to cover the county's obligations," said NIFA chairman Jon Kaiman. "We need to look at the bigger picture and take whatever actions are appropriate to meet our responsibilities."

Kaiman has said that without major revisions, the board could reject the budget and send it back to Mangano and legislative leaders for changes. If the board does not accept the revisions, NIFA could make its own budget changes, including a freeze on new hires and spending cuts in all departments and limiting new contracts with outside vendors.

The situation is reminiscent of last year's standoff when lawmakers removed Mangano's 3.4 percent property tax hike and passed budget amendments to replace $31 million in expected new tax revenue.

Mangano vetoed the amendments and NIFA said it would not approve the budget if it included the changes. The legislature did not override the veto, and the tax hike stood.

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