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November 8, 2012

Economic Impact from Superstorm Sandy and Nor’easter may Reach $1 Billion in Nassau County

Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos warned that Superstorm Sandy, in combination with the Nor’easter, may cause an economic impact of $750 million in Nassau County in just the first two weeks following the storm. The total loss may rise to over $1 billion due to the slow pace of recovery from continuing widespread power outages and gasoline shortages.  Many of our South Shore communities have been devastated by flooding and will take months to return to normalcy. Retail sales are expected to have been hit especially hard as people stayed home to cope with the damage.  

The projected loss of economic activity does not include loss of life, property or public costs for cleanup. The sales tax revenues to the County will be equally hard hit and are estimated to be $30 million lower than earlier projected and may go higher because of the slow pace of recovery. Any benefit of increased spending from the recovery process will probably not be felt until next year and after the holidays, when rebuilding will be in full force. Some, but not all, of these economic and sales tax losses will be recovered next year.

"The Nassau County economy, government revenues and small businesses have been hit hard by the storms,” Comptroller Maragos said. “Many small businesses may not survive. The County government could not afford the sales tax revenue loss or the increased cleanup costs. The Legislature should address the fiscal impact from the storms at its next session. Bipartisan cooperation will be required to deal with the financial impact to the 2012 budget and the increased likelihood of a greater deficit than earlier projected. “

The loss of sales tax revenues will adversely affect the County’s already strained 2012 finances by a potentially unsustainable increase in the deficit from previous estimates of approximately $25 million and further drain our reserves.