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Far From Dire Financial Predictions, Suffolk Winds Up With Half Billion Surplus

Courtesy of Pixabay

Suffolk County will have a budget surplus of over $500 million over the next two years, a stark difference from the economic disaster the county predicted last year during the worst of the pandemic.

An additional $285 million in the federal American Rescue Plan and better than expected sales tax revenue buoyed Suffolk’s finances.

Last summer, County Executive Steve Bellone blamed the pandemic for an expected budget deficit of $1.5 billion over three years. He said he needed to make $70 million in cuts to county transportation, health and police services. That’s even after the federal government sent $287 million in the federal CARES Act to the county. Suffolk was at the epicenter of the pandemic.

Bellone’s budget office said now with the state reopening, sales tax revenue is up 18% compared to last year. That’s $341 million more than what had been included in the 2021 budget.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.