FROM NEW YORK STATE ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (NYSAC)
The State Legislature last week addressed two significant cost shifts in the 2017-18 Executive State Budget proposal. The first one addressed a cost shift in public health problems, which was rejected by both the Senate and Assembly in their respective one house budget bills.
“County taxpayers cannot and should not be asked to pay more for the state social service and public health programs. We appreciate the lawmakers who are standing up for local taxpayers by rejecting proposed cost shifts in their one-house budget bills,” said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County Treasurer. “Now that they have begun negotiating the final details of next year’s spending plan, we call on them to stand firm in not shifting state costs to county property taxpayers.”
The Governor’s proposed Budget recommended consolidating 39 public health appropriations into 4 pools. Funding for each pool is reduced by 20 percent (projecting state savings of $24.6 million).
The Senate and Assembly both reject the executive proposal to consolidate 39 public health programs and cut spending for these programs by 20 percent, restoring $24.6 million and discrete appropriations for these programs.
The second cost shift concerned foster care programs. The governor’s proposed budget for 2017-18 reduced the state match in foster care, costing counties ($19.3 million) and New York City ($21.3 million). The Assembly and Senate budgets rejected these funding cuts to foster care.
“For counties and New York City these proposals are just more cost shifts because these state and federally mandated services will still need to be funded using local taxpayer dollars,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “This has been part of a larger trend where the state has walked away from its constitutional responsibility to care for the needy and placed that growing burden on county taxpayers.”
NYSAC will be working with lawmaker to ensure that these proposed cost shifts are turned back as negotiations continue.
“We call on our Senators and Assemblymembers to hold strong to their priorities. This is another example of how decisions that are made in the State Capitol have a direct and immediate impact on property taxes. If they shift these costs, property taxes will have to rise,” said Cherry.
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all 62 counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. For more information, visit www.nysac.org