Mon, 03 Jun 2013

- NEWSDAY - Nassau Dems nix borrowing for tax refunds

Nassau Dems nix borrowing for tax refunds

Originally published: June 3, 2013 8:26 PM
Updated: June 3, 2013 10:13 PM

Minority Democratic lawmakers were unmoved by hundreds of boxes of documents that Republicans placed along the aisle and walls of Nassau's legislative chamber Monday and voted against borrowing $183 million the county owes for tax settlements.

The 4-3 party line approvals in each of two committees, Finance and Rules, indicated that the measure would not get the necessary two-thirds majority when it comes before the full county Legislature on June 24.

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said GOP County Executive Edward Mangano's "only plan is to borrow more and saddle future generations with insurmountable debt. Asking for $183 million with no road map to pay it back is unacceptable, and we will not support it."

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Republicans provided the documents, which filled 767 boxes, after Democrats complained that they lacked the information to make an informed decision on the borrowing. Democrats also had held up the borrowing in an effort to get Republicans to agree to a "fairer" legislative redistricting plan.

Republicans, who have a 10-9 majority, need three Democratic votes for the bonding.

"We want to make sure all of your questions are answered and that you have all of the documents needed," said Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker, who added that the judgments are accruing interest of between 9 percent and 12 percent.

He said $16.2 million is owed to homeowners, "and this is the time to get these people this money, especially in these post [superstorm] Sandy times." Another $166.7 million is owed to small businesses, Walker said.

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves said the files in the boxes Republicans turned over Monday "are proof of the thousands of homeowners whose refunds are being held hostage by the minority legislators."

In other action Monday, both committees voted to hold a full public hearing on a $1 billion capital project that includes $700 million for stormwater projects.

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