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Difficult choices face next Nassau legislature

Members of the Nassau County Legislature's Budget Review

Members of the Nassau County Legislature's Budget Review Committee listen on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

After the state rescued Nassau County 15 years ago, the very wealthy but highly taxed suburb seemed at a turning point. Now the county is again going down the wrong path. The members of the next legislature will bear much of the responsibility for steering Nassau back to the right course.

The county budget is in constant deficit, and is projected to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Neither County Executive Edward Mangano nor the current Republican majority and Democratic minority seem to have the ability to devise workable plans to fix it.

The county owes more than $3.5 billion. The state control board charged with overseeing its finances is threatening once again to seize the reins.

Nassau is mired in an opaque contracting process that has led to excessive patronage spending and reckless decision-making. The timid legislature must exercise its oversight authority, especially by holding hearings that reveal information and lead to better choices. New leadership and members bringing ideas and energy are needed.

Nassau County must find revenue to cover its mounting bills. Yet even after convincing Albany to give it permission to establish a video lottery casino, the county can't find a place to put it. And it needs to fund an ocean outfall pipe to stop the decades-long pollution of the western bays by its Bay Park sewage plant.

Please invest the time to know the candidates and their positions. Weary voters know there must be a better path. Choose legislators who can find it.


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