For residents who received letters, at taxpayer expense, from County Executive Mangano regarding your tax grievance refunds, I assure you that, contrary to the County Executive's accusations, it is his administration that is holding your property tax refund hostage to politics.
My caucus never proposed raising taxes and, instead, offered budget amendments to cut more than $300 million from his budget. Until this administration, residential tax refunds were paid from operating expenses and not from borrowing. Paying tax refunds out of operating funds ensures that you will get your money immediately. To borrow for tax refunds is clearly poor fiscal policy.
Moreover, Mangano is being disingenuous when he says he’s being forced to raise taxes 25 percent. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo, there is a 2 percent tax cap in place. The County Executive’s statement is simply fear mongering and entirely false. He made a similar statement last week when he said he’d have to raise taxes 19 percent if his precinct closure plan is not approved.
Unfortunately, Mangano’s numbers lack credibility, which led to budget deficits and to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) running the county’s finances and three bond rating decreases.
What Mangano leaves out of his letter is that the County could pay your refund out of the $14.5 million it has available right now to pay tax refunds. What’s even more alarming is that, in 2011, the Mangano Administration paid out more than $30 million in tax certiorari refunds, depleting this account, but only a mere $2 million – less than 7 percent of the total payments – went to homeowners.
Additionally, at a Feb. 6 legislative committee session, a Deputy County Executive stated that $90 million was available in cash reserves. That makes $104.5 million available to pay residential refunds, yet Mangano intentionally refused to pay residential refunds.
The Mangano Administration passes the blame for holding up your refunds, which the prior administration properly paid out of operating expenses, to pressure the Democrats to agree to borrow more than $100 million more to pay for the County Executive's mishandling of assessments.
You, the taxpayer, will be paying off this debt for years, as will your children and grandchildren. Significantly, most of the money he wants us to borrow would not go to homeowners like yourself, but, instead, to commercial property owners. The bottom line is the county should not borrow for these refunds and this administration’s mishandling of the assessment problem is hurting us, our children and grandchildren.
It is not right that you have to wait for your property tax refund. It should have been paid immediately. Moreover, rather than wait for borrowed funds, the County is able to pay your refund right now with existing funds.
I urge you to call or write to County Executive Mangano and demand immediate payment of your refund. You can reach him at (516)571-3131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick