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Suffolk Exec Steve Bellone exaggerates previous fiscal woes

Reader letter to Newsday for Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019

Suffolk County Executive candidate Steve Bellone debates at

Suffolk County Executive candidate Steve Bellone debates at News 12 studios on Oct. 24, 2019 in Woodbury. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone blames his fiscal problems on a budget he inherited from my administration eight years ago [“3 vying to be county exec,” News, Nov. 1].

I received multiple bond rating upgrades during my tenure due to spending restraint and responsible financial practices. Bellone has presided over several downgrades.

How can things be better from my tenure when this year, Suffolk was declared the most fiscally stressed county in the state?

He falsely claims that he inherited a $500 million deficit when all he did was inaccurately speculate as to revenues predicted in future years. For example, Bellone predicted a 2012 deficit based on projections of a 1.5% increase in sales tax revenues in 2013, which actually came in at 6.9%
. The one-shot revenues that he claims were once a problem, such as selling the county’s Denison building and selling bonds to pay salaries, were the very one-shots that he himself implemented.

There are many reasons the county is in a fiscal ditch today, but falsely claiming that it is due to budgets eight years ago when the county had much higher bond ratings is not one of them.

Steve Levy,

Bayport

Editor’s note: The writer was Suffolk County executive from 2004 to 2011.

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