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Counties Stay Within Tax Cap Due to Extreme Cuts

Provided by the NYS Association of Counties
This year, 51 counties complied with the State-imposed property tax cap, according to a new report issued by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. However, that compliance comes with a high price that cannot be sustained moving forward.

County leaders, strong fiscal stewards, have made difficult but necessary decisions to stay within the cap. These actions include depleting reserve funds, cutting the county workforce, deferring critical maintenance, and selling and privatizing assets such as nursing homes, public health clinics, mental health clinics, parks, landfills, buildings, and public land.

At the same time counties are cutting the cost of their local or discretionary services, the costs of state programs continue to grow. On top of that, counties have the growing costs of employment benefits such as pensions, workers’ compensation, and health insurance.

The result of these opposing forces means counties will have little room to meet the cap in future years.

change in property taxAccording to Comptroller DiNapoli, “If inflation continues its downward trend, counties will need to tighten their budgets even more to stay within the tax cap and deliver services that homeowners expect. I believe the financial decisions for county leaders next year will be especially difficult.”

“We appreciate Comptroller DiNapoli’s insightful report and acknowledgement of the challenges counties face,” said NYSAC President Anthony J. Picente Jr., the Oneida County executive. “After years of making painful cuts, our communities have very little left to spare. The remainder of county budgets go directly to state mandated programs. Unless the state continues to assume the cost of its programs and services, counties won’t be able to stay within the cap much longer.”

“The fact remains that over the next five years local taxpayers will send $35 billion to Albany for one program alone, Medicaid. Despite the state’s significant efforts to chip away at mandated cost growth, an enormous amount of state imposed costs remain permanently locked into the county property tax base. It’s simply unsustainable,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario.

The chart below from the Pew Charitable Trusts shines a bright light on New York State’s unprecedented reliance on using local tax dollars to support state programs and policies.

local funds

 

 

 

“We call on the Governor and state lawmakers to reset the costs of state-imposed welfare programs to a 50/50 state/county cost share, as it was prior to the recession. The current situation, in which counties pay 75% of welfare costs, is not appropriate. This should be a matter of state concern,” Acquario said.

For more information, visit http://nysac.org/legislative-action/PropertyTaxCap.php

1 Comment

  1. WHY is there no program (s) in effect to have welfare recipients work for their stipends? In the old days people did, then it became a non-cost effective way of approaching the ‘dole.’ Our cities have cuts to a wide variety of budgets, and it might be helpful to have public buildings cleaned, gardening performed, and streets swept. Instead of giving away money to have folks sit home, it might provide a sense of pride (esp. to fourth/fifth generation recipients) to learn how to work. For work is a learned skill. IF the recipient can afford cable, and more than basic services, then they should be able to perform work. I know that thirty five years ago I was out of work for a few months. I made the Soc. Services office find me a job. They told me then, they weren’t set up for that. I merely said, I would call my Congressman, and voila (!) I got a job working in an office as an assistant. I know a friend had a job drafting in Syracuse in the 1960s, and another helped the DPW in Os. Co. did ditches in the 1970s.

    I suspect this isn’t popular. I just know that I never was out of work again after my experience…mostly, maybe, lol, because I broke down what my pay was and it was $.29 an hour getting my food stamps and medicaid. My unemployment paid my rent on a small efficiency…I did not have cable/but did have a basic phone.

    We need to penalize physicians who allow medicaid recipients to come in with non-disabling ‘injuries’ and not be able to work ever again. And we definitely need to stop emergency room visits for non-threatening conditions that cost far more than most of us can afford. I walked to the ER while one of my neighbors on PA had an ambulance take her three time because she wouldn’t eat and had diabetes.

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