Ed Mangano told viewers at the third County Executive debate, that it will be easy this election to make an “informed decision” because it comes down to “looking at our records.”
“Tom Suozzi had 8 years in office and didn’t do any of the things he “visioned doing” Mangano said. “I had 4 years and many accomplishments… Tom had the lowest sales tax growth during his terms, I enjoy the greatest sales tax growth. Suozzi had the highest unemployment rate while in office, I have the lowest unemployment in the region. I brought in or retained more than 19,000 jobs in my four years in office, many jobs left during Tom’s term.”
The first televised debate between the two aired on CBS Channel 2 from 1pm to 2pm today.
“As he was fighting for the 2% tax cap, Tom Suozzi raised County taxes double that – 4%...And he planned a 16.5 % tax increase his last month in office, which I stopped,” Mangano said in response to a moderator’s question.
Suozzi, who in 2009 said that as County Executive, he had no control over school districts or school taxes, now blames Mangano for recent school tax hikes.
As in previous debates, Suozzi argued that NIFA took control of Nassau’s finances under Ed Mangano, while he “worked with” the control board when he was county executive.
Mangano quoted Newsday columnist Joye Brown, who twice wrote that NIFA changed accounting rules when he took office, and had cut Suozzi “a lot of slack.” She added that had the rules been the same, NIFA would have taken over long ago, under Suozzi.
Mangano later countered Suozzi’s assertions by saying Nassau actually has the 2nd highest credit rating and that it was achieved without a tax increase. And, that he submitted a 4- year plan, which was approved, to end the need for NIFA “without taking an extra dime from taxpayers.”
Regarding what he thought the County could do to help school districts save money, Mangano said he’s given every school, garbage, water and fire district the purchasing power of Nassau County, through a purchasing consortium and he mentioned two coordinating bids that have already saved all involved, money: paper and natural gas.
“Long Island is very school district-centric,” Mangano said. “We identify with our school district.”
At one point, Suozzi claimed that there were no actual savings from the police precinct consolidations. In response, Mangano pointed out that 300 administrative jobs were eliminated and that resulted in the County giving out 300 less paychecks, making 300 less pension contributions and 300 less employees were obligated to get health care for life through the County.
Suozzi once gain brought up what he himself called a “rumor” about Mangano’s “secret” plans to put VLTs at the HUB site and, once again Mangano said he has no such plans.
Suozzi said he would have brought in a more ambitious redevelopment of the HUB, making no mention of the Lighthouse project he championed when he was in office, which failed because it was too dense.
Mangano told viewers that the lease he has with Bruce Ratner would redevelop the Coliseum with100% private financing that would generate millions of dollars for Nassau County and was just the beginning of major economic growth and development for the area.
Mangano also said that while he has taken the annual salary that Suozzi raised during his tenure, he has turned down $52,000 in automatic raises that Suozzi built in to the pay structure.
At one point, Mangano asked Suozzi why he “sold out County employees, by hiring out of county people while running for state office during his second term.
Responding to a question about efforts to combat the prescription drug abuse crisis, Suozzi said he would work with the DA and the police to “educate people about the dangers” and about emptying your medicine cabinets of unused or unwanted painkillers.
Mangano said his law enforcement officials have and continue to teach pharmacists to better protect themselves and their customers; and that his administration had launched Narcan training for parents, which is a lifesaving, free drug for those who might be overdosing on Opioids. He said “we’ve already saved lives. And there were so many success stories about then getting those with drug addiction into treatment.”
On another subject, Mangano said that while Sandy brought the worst of times, it also ‘gives us the opportunity to build smarter, stronger and better. It’s time to reinvent and make improvements.
In closing, Mangano said that his opponent’s tax increases killed jobs and sent young people to live elsewhere. He pointed to several companies he and the Nassau IDA convinced to come to Nassau or expand here.
He asked that residents focus on the issues and accomplishments, and not on Suozzi’s “lies, distortions and campaign rhetoric.”
“He raised property taxes 23% and even with a $100 million state bailout, left $385 million in debt,” Mangano said. “I cut taxes by repealing his home energy tax, didn’t raise taxes for four years, lowered the unemployment rate, saw the highest increase in sales tax growth … jobs and people are retuning to Nassau. We must continue this progress so we can continue to make this County a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
After 8 years in office, a loss in the governor and county executive races and 4 years in the private sector, Suozzi now says he has a plan to fix the assessment system and expand the tax base.