On behalf of the state’s 57 counties, the New York State Association of Counties today (June 14) called on the State Assembly to pass a bill that will reimburse counties for a state-mandated District Attorney salary increase enacted by the state on April 1.
When the state raised the salaries of Supreme and County Court judges to $193,000, they also raised county district attorney salaries, which are linked by State Judicial Law 183-a. State Supreme and County Court judges are paid by the state, DAs are paid by the county and each previous state-imposed DA salary increase has been funded by the state.
“This is a quintessential unfunded state mandate. The state raised the salary of an elected county official and they shifted the cost to the local level to be paid for by county taxpayers,” said NYSAC President William Cherry, the Schoharie County treasurer.
This legislation on the Senate Calendar today (S.7408A, Young/A.10152A, Gunther) would reimburse counties for the state-mandated DA salary increase in 2016 and beyond.
“We applaud senators Young and O’Mara and their colleagues for addressing the unfunded mandate enacted in April, and we encourage the Assembly to bring the measure to the floor when the measure comes over to their house,” said Cherry.
On April 1, the State adopted a budget that is more than $150 billion statewide, but did not include the approximately $1.6 million for counties to fund the DA salary increases.
Interestingly, the state also did not include a general fund allocation for the judges’ salaries, forcing those raises to come out of the Judiciary budget.
The raise will cost each county approximately $30,000 in funds not allocated from their 2016 county budgets – a cost of approximately 1/3 of their total allowable property tax cap growth for all government operations in 2016.
“This has always been a fundamental issue of fairness. The state caps property taxes – which is a good thing for homeowners – then increases our costs by making local taxpayers pay for decisions they are making in Albany,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “For over 50 years, every time the state has increased the DA salary, they have reimbursed counties through a state budget appropriation. We are simply asking them to continue that practice by passing this bill.”
“This was an unintended consequence of the demands of meeting an on-time budget, and it can be fixed by bringing this bill to floor and voting in the affirmative,” said Cherry.
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties.