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Nassau County, N.Y. loses $30 million sales tax after Sandy

By Hilary Russ

(Reuters) - New York's Nassau County is on track to lose $30 million in sales tax revenue over just two weeks because of superstorm Sandy, County Comptroller George Maragos said.

The lost revenue would double the size of the cash-strapped county's projected $25 million budget deficit for fiscal 2012, which ends December 31.

The total economic impact of the storm on Nassau, just east of New York City, will be about $750 million by the end of this week, Maragos said.

Sandy came ashore in New Jersey on October 29, crippling some East Coast transportation and power systems and killing more than 100 in the U.S.

The storm hit parts of Nassau and neighboring Suffolk County hard. The counties together make up most of Long Island, which juts into the Atlantic Ocean east of New York City.

The counties were already struggling financially before the mega storm ground economic activity in the region to a halt and tore a chunk out of Nassau's revenues. Officials in Suffolk did not reply to requests for comment.

Nassau's projected $25 million budget deficit, which is less than 1 percent of its nearly $3 billion adopted 2012 budget, "would have been manageable," Maragos said. "Now we have to manage twice that amount."

"It's certainly going to hurt, and it's going to be a strain on our finances," he said.

Nassau, like other municipalities walloped by Sandy, expects the federal and state governments to quickly reimburse most or all storm-related costs, but the lost revenue will hurt, he said.

The county has cut its workforce by a fifth and made over $290 million in spending cuts since County Executive Edward Mangano took office in January 2010.

(Reporting By Hilary Russ; Editing by M.D. Golan)

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