So, the Taxed Enough Already folks got one of their own into the office of Nassau County Executive in New York State. Edward Mangano, who ran under the Tea Party platform, made sure he kept his promise of eliminating taxes the first day he stepped into office. Except he should have asked somebody first. Now, the county is swimming in debt (from AlterNet)
Upon taking office, Mangano — who ran on both the Republican and Tax Revolt Party lines — made good on a key campaign promise. On his inauguration day, Mangano signed a repeal of an unpopular home energy tax, instituted by Suozzi. The tax was implemented two years before as part of a deferred-pay deal Suozzi brokered with public worker unions, which was intended to spread around the sacrifice to deal with the county’s budget problems.
In a special report, Reuters details how the repeal of that tax lead to a budgetary crisis and ultimately a takeover of the county’s finances by a state-appointed fiscal overseer. Noting that Mangano’s actions are “a black eye for the Tea Party,” the report explains how the Tea Party county executive had no plans for how to replace the lost tax revenue:
The home energy tax cost households on average $7.27 each month — a fraction of most tax bills. But in an area already paying some of the highest taxes in the country, it took on symbolic importance. [...]
[Mangano's] struggle began almost the minute he repealed the energy tax. “I’m not sure that (Mangano) understood the magnitude of the fiscal problems that he faced and he had promises from the campaign that he had to keep,” said Lawrence Levy, a dean at Hofstra University and a former member of the editorial board at Long Island daily Newsday. Eliminating the energy tax “blew a bigger hole in his budget and added to the problem with really no plan to replace the revenue,” he said.
Within two working days of Mangano’s inauguration, a letter from [the Nassau County Interim Financial Authority] landed on his desk — the opening salvo of what would fast become a testy relationship. In a two-page letter, NIFA’s chairman Ronald Stack requested a revised multi-year plan and asked Mangano how he planned to make up for the lost revenue.
He never did provide an answer that satisfied them. On Wednesday, NIFA said the county’s $2.6 billion budget was out of balance by $176 million, meaning it could take control of its finances. Mangano said he would sue NIFA….In November, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the county and put its finances on outlook negative, citing weak liquidity and an over-reliance on nonrecurring revenues. The rating agency singled out the energy tax repeal as problematic.
And this is the problem with so many of these Tea Party folks. They have these grandiose ideas about cutting budgets, slashing taxes, giving the money back to the people. But many of them just don’t have the experience in or knowledge of the way things work to be able to realize they’re about to make a huge mistake.
Most of us know all about income and expenditures. We have to deal with it daily. If you want services, they have to be paid for. And for most of us, reducing the income is not an option. we have to cut our spending first, or give up on some things. But we realize there’s a bottom line below which we cannot cut. Tea Party folks refuse to acknowledge this basic fact. They want services, they want their Social Security and Medicare. They just don’t want to pay for it.
Mangano is learning the hard way that it’s just not as easy as it sounds.