Two weeks before their feuding camps struck a strategic agreement in Nassau's fiscal crisis, County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Nassau Interim Finance Authority chairman Ronald A. Stack met separately with a top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, sources said.
An administration official declined to identify the emissary and said only that the aide's goal in private sessions was "to advocate for a resolution that protects Nassau County taxpayers."
The apparent upshot -- the state-created NIFA allowing Mangano's office to borrow up to $450 million over four years -- was hailed by incumbent Nassau GOP officials last week.
On Election Day, a week from tomorrow, Republicans seek to retain a legislative majority. "This puts out a huge fire as far as the budget is concerned," one Republican strategist said Friday. "Taxes aren't going up and steps are being taken to solve the fiscal problem."
But another figure, from Cuomo's political world -- Jay Jacobs, the state and county Democratic chairman -- said the NIFA move to avert bankruptcy is "not anything for Mangano and the Republicans to be proud of."
"It becomes obvious that they couldn't produce a budget by delivering on cuts and efficiencies as promised," Jacobs added. "Every voter should be concerned that there will be $450 million added to the debt. . . . To Republicans who say there will be no property tax increase today: This absolutely guarantees a property tax increase tomorrow."
Since Democrat Cuomo became governor 10 months ago, his staffers made clear a lack of desire to dive into the specifics of Nassau's troubles, saying the tools already existed for a local resolution to the county's severe and chronic fiscal imbalance. Before a $400 million taxpayer borrowing for a new Coliseum was rejected Aug. 1 in a special referendum, Cuomo declined to endorse or oppose it.
Two veteran players in the State Senate Republican conference, allies of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), are said in political circles to have had a hand in the developments: budget expert Abe Lackman and veteran spokesman John McArdle, both retained by Mangano in July.
Whatever the electoral impact of the NIFA deal, new political facts are coming in the form of layoffs and program cuts, with several specifics likely to remain hazy until after next Tuesday. Also to be watched is what role the squeezed public unions may play in key legislative races.