The death of Democratic Nassau Legis. Judy Jacobs provides Republicans with a 12-6 advantage in the county legislature, but attorneys on both sides agree the vacancy does not give the GOP more power over borrowing.
New York State Finance law says municipal bonding requires a two-thirds supermajority of the legislature.
For six months, Democrats have refused to provide the 13th vote necessary to borrow more than $200 million for capital projects in a yet-unsuccessful effort to get majority Republicans to create an inspector general to oversee county contracting.
The 12-6 split would appear to give Republicans a two-thirds margin. But Democratic and GOP attorneys agreed that a supermajority is based on all 19 legislative seats and not just those that are filled.
The result: Nassau Republicans need a 13th legislative seat to secure that elusive supermajority. They’ll likely get that opportunity in November in a special election to fill Jacobs’s seat.
The legislative district has 23,017 registered Democrats, 14,445 Republicans and 13,327 voters unaffiliated with any major party.