Call it the ultimate bait-and-switch.
The Republican majority in the Suffolk legislature, which, for months, put up a good fight to hold off a Democratic push to raise the county sales tax, appears to be caving in and are about to acquiesce to the big-spending liberals.
What’s the use of having a Republican majority that’s supposed to be conservative watchdogs for the public?
It appears the Suffolk GOP legislators got bullied by the media, the unions and the liberal Democrats into folding because they were falsely being depicted as anti-environment, and not being willing to raise the tax to pay for sewers.
The Republicans had a very legitimate argument that there was no need to increase the sales tax to pay for sewers, since the county is sitting on $700 million in reserves left over from Covid grants. It would also be possible to reconfigure the present sales tax figures to allow for sewers to be built from the present pot of money. At least one true fiscal conservative legislator, Robert Trotta, is proposing this alternative to the tax increase.
The majority, however, appear to be folding from the pressure of the unions, which want to raise your taxes so that the leftover $700 million in Covid monies could be used for their salaries, perks and other bloat within the county budget.
Let’s not forget that over $200 million in new sewers would’ve been built over the last decade, had the county executive not raided the sewer fund.
Rather than exhibit fiscal discipline, and repay that money from existing and incoming funds, the Democrats are joining forces with the unions in pushing for the sales tax increase. This gives them the money for the sewers, money that will go to the unions building the sewers, and money that will be left over in the Covid funds for union raises for the municipal employees.
Everybody wins … except you, the taxpayer.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Republican majority told the Democrats: “Hey, you raided the fund. Now live up to your promise of paying it back on a year-by-year basis, rather than raising people’s taxes. Yes, we believe that constructing new sewers is a good thing, but we can do it with the existing funds. Those funds are at record levels.”
Unfortunately, the Republicans are folding like cheap tents.
We expect this from liberal Democrats in the legislature. Taxpayers should be extremely disappointed at the Republicans they put in place to watch their tax dollars.