Tea Party Politician Edward Mangano's Actions Fuel Nassau County's Takeover Of State-appointed Fiscal Overseer
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Here's your Tea Party in action. Mangano was actually the first Tea Partier elected to office, and he opposed an extra $7.27 monthly tax that was needed to sustain the budget. This meant the state had to step in and take over the county.
At his January 2010 inauguration, Tea Party-backed Republican Edward Mangano marched up to the podium, pen in hand. Even before being officially declared Nassau County Executive, he signed a repeal of an unpopular home energy tax.
The move elicited chants of "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie" from supporters assembled in the auditorium of Mangano's alma mater, Bethpage High School, 30 miles east of New York City.
"This is very cool and quite an honor," Mangano said as he gave his admirers a thumbs-up.
The fiscal consequences, however, were anything but cool. The repeal set Mangano on an immediate collision course with the state-appointed fiscal overseer, the Nassau County Interim Financial Authority, or NIFA. It culminated in NIFA seizing control of the wealthy New York county's finances on Wednesday.
Nassau's ills exemplify the growing tension across the country as dozens of freshly-elected Tea Party lawmakers, many of whom promised to cut taxes, must find ways to slash record budget gaps as revenues dwindle.
"A lot of people who got elected on this type of anti-tax platform are running into the brick wall of fiscal reality," said Matthew Gardner, executive director of the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington.
Mangano stressed a "tax revolt" platform as a candidate, but few bothered to notice that his numbers just didn't -- indeed, couldn't -- add up. He ran against an incumbent who felt like he had no choice but to tell voters the truth -- he'd have to raise taxes to prevent a disaster -- and the public didn't care for it.
Mangano didn't quite understand the county's fiscal problems, but proceeded with his agenda anyway. And now we see the consequences.
Tea Party economics always sound nice, right up until these ridiculous ideas are actually implemented.
Reuters has the full story in a great piece that you should read: "Special Report: A Long Island tax cut backfires on the Tea Party."
As we keep hearing from Conservatives, nothing in life is free. Michael Tomasky explains:
I hope that things like this will make people think long and hard about these issues. If you want well-paid cops and nice parks and good schools and upgraded county roadways that can handle the traffic, you have to pay for them. I'm well aware that paying taxes isn't fun. I pay high ones in Montgomery County. But things work there, generally speaking, and life is good there, and I'm happy to pay 'em. People have to learn these things in their own time, I guess.
Edward Mangano isn't solely responsible for the budget problems of Nassau County, obviously, but the Tea Party mantra of cutting taxes isn't the answer to all our problems. Real leadership means making grown-up choices because those choices have an impact on REAL people. Think Progress has more.