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NIFA should've acted sooner

Nassau's financial control board says the county is

Nassau's financial control board says the county is a long way from meeting requirements to end state oversight of its budgets, citing continued reliance on borrowing to cover day-to-day costs. NIFA chairman Jon Kaiman, pictured, said the report reflects the challenges still facing the county. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The state board overseeing Nassau County's finances rejected a plan to borrow $3.2 million to settle lawsuits. It isn't a terribly big deal: In a county with a $3-billion budget, that sum represents only about nine hours of spending.

What matters is the message the Nassau Interim Finance Authority is repeating a month after it rejected similar borrowing by the county: The imbalance between revenue and spending is out of hand.

NIFA should have taken a stand earlier: The county faces a $70-million sales tax shortfall for 2014. It has given up on speed cameras projected to provide $30 million a year. And NIFA approved lifting a salary freeze for union workers based on this disappearing income. The county faces a dramatic budget problem. NIFA hasn't done the county any favors by being so slow to wake up to that fact.

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