County financial watchdog rejects Nassau's 2018 budget

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UNIONDALE -

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority has rejected the county's 2018 budget.

In a unanimous vote, the state control board that oversees Nassau County's finances rejected the latest budget proposal put forth by lawmakers.

Last month, the Republican-controlled legislature stripped $60 million worth of fee hikes out of County Executive Ed Mangano's budget proposal. NIFA Chairman Adam Barsky says lawmakers failed to submit a balanced budget as a result.

"We made it very clear from the beginning that in order for them to make any modifications to the budget, they had to modify with recurring expense cuts or revenue enhancements," Barsky says.

Barsky says the Legislature must now submit a revised budget that includes either $31.5 million in acceptable revenue enhancements or $31.5 million worth of spending cuts. If it fails to do so, NIFA will declare a "fiscal crisis" and could unilaterally institute spending cuts.

Earlier Thursday, Nassau Legislature Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves released a statement reading in part, "It is remarkable that Governor Cuomo's appointees continue to push for unnecessary and burdensome cuts, fees or taxes, none of which are acceptable to this Legislature or the County Executive Elect."

But NIFA board member Chris Wright reiterated Thursday night that if lawmakers are unwilling or unable to balance the county budget, NIFA will.

"This is a golden opportunity for the elected officials of Nassau County to do the job that they have been elected to do," he says. "And do the job that NIFA has otherwise been doing for them for years."

The Republican-led Nassau Legislature has until Nov. 27 to submit a modified budget proposal.

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