Proposed Nassau County, N.Y., budget would avoid tax hike

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Nassau County, New York, Executive Laura Curran is proposing 2020 fiscal year budget that would keep property taxes flat for a second straight year.

The $3.56 billion spending plan announced Monday by Curran would mark a 2% increase over the current budget with targeted investments in infrastructure and modernizing county operations. The Democrat’s second budget proposal since her election win in November 2017 projects a conservative 1.9% growth in sales tax revenue, down from a 2.5% increase that was forecast last year due to the volatility of the national economy.

“For the second consecutive year, I have worked hard to hold the line on taxes,” Curran said in a statement. “We are continuing to exercise spending discipline.”

Curran’s budget plan projects $14 million of revenue from internet sales, which would account for 1% of the county’s sales tax collections. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision issued in June 2018 allows states and municipalities to require the collection of taxes from companies who sell products within local boundaries even if they have no physical presence there.

The 2020 fiscal plan eliminates 66 vacant positions. However, around $7 million of funding for these jobs would remain in agency budgets that can be used for raises toward existing county workers, according to Ray Orlando, Nassau’s deputy county executive for finance.

“It’s less about savings and more an indication that the county will have fewer employees and the savings from that will be re-purposed,” said Orlando, who assumed the Nassau County finance post following the retirement of former New York City budget director Mark Page late last year.

The budget proposal will now be taken up by the legislature and then must be approved by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority. NIFA has controlled Nassau finances since 2011 and has had an oversight role since 2000 after the county nearly went bankrupt.

Nassau, which is New York State’s sixth most populous county, has bond ratings of A2 by Moody’s Investors Service, A by Fitch Ratings and A-plus by S&P Global Ratings. The county has around $2.4 billion of outstanding general obligation debt, according to Fitch.

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Budgets County of Nassau, NY New York