While Nassau Executive Edward Mangano was proposing budget cuts to important youth programs, social services and bus routes last week to balance the county’s deficit-bedeviled $2.9 billion budget, his administration also was mailing out eight-page, full-color fliers touting all the good things that are happening in the county.
Officials said mailing the 180,000 pieces cost $21,600 in postage and an undetermined amount for in-house printing costs. As usual, county officials defended the indefensible mailers and their cost as a way to give residents important information about the county in a variety of areas.
That would be an easier sell if the mailers didn’t include misdirection like that under the headline “Froze Taxes.” Mangano actually increased property taxes by 3.4 percent in 2015, proposed a tax increase for 2016 that was nixed by the legislature and has peppered residents with big fee increases for several years. The argument that the mailers are crucial informational pieces rather than political tools also would be easier to swallow if they were not eight pages of rosiness that exclude practically all mention of the problems and challenges the county faces.
Mangano is under federal indictment on charges of bribery and fraud. And he’s failed to balance the county budget. The control period instituted by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority has now gone on for nearly six years.
NIFA rejected the 2017 Nassau County budget Tuesday, pointing to a shortfall of at least $36 million that does not include the $60 million NIFA is willing to let the county borrow or an array of other budget risks.
Wasting money on propaganda while threatening services residents depend on is irresponsible and unfair, and in this environment, it probably isn’t even smart politics. — The editorial board