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Suffolk Budget Review Office Skeptical Of Savings In Bellone's Budget

Office of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaking at an event with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Suffolk County Budget Review Office says that County Executive Steve Bellone’s 2018 budget proposal uses “risky assumptions” that could increase the county’s deficit.

The most recent report from the Office of Budget Review estimates the county’s structural deficit could increase to $150 million under the current budget proposal.

Bellone says his proposal would reduce the deficit to $30 million.

Robert Lipp, director of the Office of Budget Review, says Bellone overestimated profits and underestimated costs in his proposal. He says Bellone planned for a 4.66 percent growth in sales tax, but it will actually be one percent lower.   

“So a one percent change in the forecast would amount to $13.5 million, so that’s a big problem. The county executive would need to do a lot of belt tightening and try to figure out where cuts can be made during the year and be proactive. Is that doable? We’ll have to wait and see.”

The report found that sales tax revenue will neither be as high as the budget predicts, nor is it likely to be a significant factor to help solve Suffolk’s fiscal problems.

A Bellone spokesperson told Newsday that the Office of Budget Review is off in their estimates.