SMITHTOWN - Suffolk County is facing a $78 million budget deficit going into 2017, due mostly to sluggish sales tax revenue, according to Executive Steve Bellone.
Bellone told News 12 Long Island that every available option is on the table to balance the budget, including a tax hike that doesn't pierce the state tax cap, layoffs and program cuts. He did not provide many specifics, but did say that some of the lesser-used county bus routes will be cut.
"We're going to have to make some tough choices," said Bellone. "We'll be putting out more information as we consult."
The County Legislature's Minority Leader Kevin McCaffrey argued that layoffs and tax hikes are not the way to go.
"It's too little too late. It's a series of mismanagements by the county executive's office," said McCaffrey.
Suffolk's Association of Municipal Employees issued a statement regarding the possibility of layoffs, saying in part that staff reduction cannot balance the budget at the cost of essential services to the taxpayer.