County Director Laura Curran’s $ 3.5 billion budget proposal for 2022 cleared her last legislative hurdle Friday, when the majority of Republican lawmakers failed to override her veto on changes that would have reduced $ 100 million in county fees and reduced property taxes by $ 120 million.
The vote was 11-8 after party lines. With all Democrats supporting the Curran budget plan, Republicans were unable to secure a super-majority of 13 votes needed to override the county executive’s veto.
The budget must still win the approval of the five-member board of directors of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the county’s financial control board.
“Nassau’s taxpayers deserve a fiscally responsible approach to budgeting – not the kind of rude biased tribune that is the epitome of these ruthless budget changes,” minority leader Kevan Abrahams said in a statement after the vote.
President Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) argued before the override vote that the GOP changes represented an opportunity to give taxpayers relief.
“Nassau County is over-taxing, over-budgeting and over-spending,” Nicolello said.
The property tax cut – $ 50 million more than Curran is seeking – “will in our amendment provide relief to our residents who are struggling, especially now that they have their school tax bills – many of which are experiencing larger increases due to shifts caused by reassessment , “said Nicolello, referring to Curran’s countywide property appraisal program.
Curran’s budget plan for 2022 will increase public safety spending by $ 45 million, which will add 70 posts to the police and probation service, the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies.
Curran, a Democrat seeking re-election Tuesday against Republican challenger Bruce Blakeman, also plans to cut $ 70 million in property taxes.
That would save the owner of a $ 500,000 house an average of about $ 140 a year, administration officials said.
The GOP changes would have reduced the county’s property tax by a total of $ 120 million.
Republicans had also tried to cut $ 106 million in county fees by removing the public safety fee on red light camera violations and other property taxes.
Republicans argued that higher-than-expected VAT revenues would compensate for the lost revenues.
VAT revenue finances about 40% of the county’s operating budget.
When he called on his caucus to vote against the breach of Friday Abrahams (D-Freeport), he quoted a report released at a NIFA board meeting on October 21.
Board members agreed that they would not approve the county’s 2022 budget if it contained the Republican amendments.
NIFA warned against cutting back on recurring sources of revenue, even though the county’s short-term economic outlook appeared positive.
The NIFA report also said that even if Curran were to veto the GOP’s budget changes, her administration “jeopardized the tax balance” by proposing to reduce the property tax by $ 70 million next year.
The 12 amendments introduced by Republicans were approved along party lines on October 17th. All Democratic lawmakers voted against the bills.
All 19 seats in the Nassau County Legislature are up for election on November 2nd.
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