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November 20, 2014
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Will Sullivan lawmakers override tax cap?


Lawmaker Ron Hiatt, who is not seeking another term this year, said other counties were considering reducing services that are not mandated, such as county-owned nursing homes and departments of community service, which deal with mental health and drug addiction issues.

He once again called on labor to help ease the budget crunch presumably through concessions. He said, “Next year is going to be worse than this year… and labor could provide us with some help, if only temporarily on a year-to-year basis. If they become part of a solution, then people don’t have to be laid off, and we don’t have to reduce services as much.”

Sullivan County is not alone in its difficult budget process. In fact, there is so much dissatisfaction with mandates from Albany that some county officials around the state have been discussing holding back Medicaid payments to the state.

Fanslau, however, said that could result in some negative impacts. The county’s budget is about $191 million; about $80 million of that comes from federal and state reimbursements. So, if the county withheld Medicaid payments, Fanslau said, “I would suspect that the reimbursement train would stop immediately, and don’t forget they collect our sales tax, so they probably wouldn’t send our sales tax payments.”

He said the only way such a move could possibly work was if all 57 counties outside of New York City were on board with it, and judging by the information he’s getting from his colleagues, that is not likely to happen.