NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters) - New York’s affluent Nassau County filed a lawsuit on Monday to block a state takeover of its finances after a fiscal overseer ruled last week the county’s 2011 budget was severely out of balance.
The Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, or NIFA, on Jan. 26 ordered a control period and demanded that County Executive Edward Mangano present a revised budget by Feb. 15.
The move was a huge blow to Mangano, a Tea Party-backed Republican who came to power more than a year ago promising to cut the county’s taxes, which are among the highest in the country.
In the lawsuit filed in Nassau County Supreme Court, Mangano asked that the court annul NIFA’s takeover because it did not meet the high threshold for a takeover.
Mangano said in a statement on Monday that NIFA was trying to force him to raise taxes.
“NIFA has continually expressed the need for our county to increase revenue. Where I come from, increased revenue is code name for higher property taxes,” Mangano said. “I will not allow a property tax increase on my watch,” he said.
NIFA was created in 2000 when the troubled county -- which is among the wealthiest in the country -- was given a $100 million bailout from the state.
The chairman of NIFA’s board of directors, Ronald Stack, has said NIFA must order a control period if the budget is more than one percent out of balance. Last week, Stack said Mangano’s $2.6 billion budget was $176 million out of balance.
Stack was not immediately available on Monday.
Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz