The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) released its
"State Programs Funded by County Property Taxpayers" report on Monday.
The document explains how property taxes are used to pay for state mandated programs and notes they fall mainly in the health, human services and public protection arenas. NYSAC is seeking reform of state programs that are funded by local property taxes.
“This report reinforces the urgent need for the New York State Legislature and the Governor to make a top legislative priority for the year,” said Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, a member of the NYSAC Board of Directors.
According to the report, county governments have been required by the state to provide state services locally. Over the course of years, reimbursement for locally provided state programs and services has been eliminated or drastically reduced leaving local taxpayers to make up the difference.
Last year, county leaders identified nine state mandates that consume 90 percent of the entire county property tax levy collected statewide. NYSAC took those nine mandates as a stepping off point, and identified other major cost drivers that are required to be funded by local taxes each year.
In light of rising costs, counties have begun advocating for five specific mandate relief proposals including:
1. A gradual state takeover of county Medicaid costs
2. Pension reforms
3. Reform of Pre-School Special Education Program transportation
4. Requiring health insurance companies to fund medically necessary
Early Intervention services
5. Timely reimbursement from the state for state services delivered
"We believe 2012 is the year for State leaders to enact meaningful
mandate relief that will provide counties the ability to stabilize
property taxes, continue critical local services and promote the
economic vitality of our communities,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “We cannot afford for this effort to fail and on behalf of the public, our county leaders stand ready to work with our partners in State government to make that happen."
NYSAC states that in 2012 more than $11 billion in local taxes will be sent to the State treasury to subsidize state spending decisions for mandated program. In terms of Medicaid alone, counties and the City of New York will send $7.3 billion to the State in weekly installments to fund the State's public health insurance program.
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal
association serving the counties of New York State including the City of