Suozzi: 'Things are as bad as they can be'

? Citing the bleak financial picture in the face of sales-tax revenue losses, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi said he will be forced to institute massive layoffs and dramatic service cuts without the

News 12 Staff

Feb 3, 2009, 2:40 PM

Updated 5,648 days ago

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? Citing the bleak financial picture in the face of sales-tax revenue losses, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi said he will be forced to institute massive layoffs and dramatic service cuts without the help of the federal government, New York state and county workers.
To see Suozzi's complete emergency budget speech, go to iO Extra, channel 612 on your iO digital cable box.
Without certain givebacks by labor and management, Suozzi said he would have to eliminate 320 civil-service positions, lay off 250 police officers and cut 100 corrections officers.
The county government, under the worst-case scenario plan, would be forced to shut down for 26 days out of the year. Employees would not receive pay for those days. In addition, county offices would open at 1 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.
In order to avoid the layoffs and serious cutbacks to county services, Suozzi called on workers to consider pay freezes and pay cuts. He also proposed a 7 percent across-the-board pay cut for all county workers in order to save jobs.
Despite his hope that the sacrifice of some would save the jobs of others, Suozzi said county officials are already looking at layoff plans in the event help doesn?t materialize.
Suozzi urged all workers to consider their colleagues in the middle of the grim economic picture.
?Sacrifice is defined as the surrender of something great for the sake of something greater,? the county executive said.
Suozzi said an earlier economic crisis in the county was brought on by fraud and mismanagement, which in many ways was easier to fix by trimming the excesses of government.
?Solving today?s problem will be much harder because we have already cut the fat,? said Suozzi. ?Now, to solve today?s problem, we must cut the heart out of county government?Nassau County?s budget has taken a body blow, a stake to the heart.?
Without help, Suozzi said significant eliminations and cuts would have to be made to county services, such as cuts to the youth board, senior citizens services, drug and alcohol programs and a variety of other services. He also said the county would have to extend sales tax to include home heating oil.
Suozzi said unlike the county?s grim financial picture just after Sept. 11, the current problems require drastic measures because the economy all over the U.S. and New York is in horrific shape. This means the county will not have help readily available from sources of funding that are still in good condition.
?All of this, everything we have done, as far as we have come, cannot prevent me from making this statement: Things are as bad as they can be.?
Click to see what impact Suozzi?s plan could have on county police
News release and text of speech


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