Counties Applaud Budget Changes that will Assist Local Governments

NYSAC says new budget offers more local fiscal relief

PRESS RELEASE FROM NEW YORK STATE ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES

State legislative leaders this week advanced budget priorities that will help local governments as they work to protect community-based programs and services and stabilize property taxes.

County leaders representing New York’s 62 regional governments today applaud State Lawmakers for releasing budget plans that consider the fiscal challenges facing counties and local governments across the State.

The State Senate and Assembly released their 2013-14 State Budget priorities (one house budgets) over the past four days, and adopted resolutions in support of their plans yesterday.

“These budgets provide tools that counties can use to stabilize property taxes and continue to provide local programs and services,” said NYSAC President Edward A. Diana, Orange County Executive. “The legislature is advancing accelerated mandate relief, home rule flexibility, public integrity initiatives, and additional funding to fix deteriorating local roads and bridges.”

State legislative leaders are expected to announce budget conference committees to negotiate the differences between the budgets put forth by the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly.

“The actions and decisions made in the State Budget have direct implications for counties and our property taxpayers. That’s why it’s essential that we have a voice in the budget process,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, president of the New York State County Executives Association.

Items being held up by counties include:

– Accelerating mandate relief savings through the Medicaid cap

– Stabilizing pension costs

– Strengthening home rule authority

– Increasing funding for local road and bridge maintenance

– Improving the public health infrastructure

– Investing in community colleges and the students they train

– Supporting local economic development tools

– Authorizing counties to fight waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars

“This is a crucial time in the negotiating process, and it is particularly important for county officials to weigh in on the issues that are most important to their communities,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “The Governor and the Legislature have advanced tools that will empower counties to better manage State mandates locally, and they must remain part of the final state budget.”