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December 08, 2016
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Proposed Sullivan budget increase: 13.77%

The budget message, which was released on November 4, said the cause for the double-digit tax increase lies not with spending that the county can control, which has risen only 1.6% since 2008, but lies with state-mandated increases in spending from Albany. The mandated increase, Fanslau wrote, included: $22 million for Medicaid, $1 million for childcare, $3.2 million for staffing for the state’s programs, $2.7 million for the early intervention program, $11.4 million for the jail, $1.3 million for indigent defense and $2.8 million for the Safety Net Program.

He wrote, “The Safety Net Program is very concerning, as this is not a federal mandate, but rather a creature of New York State to provide assistance once recipients exceed the five-year maximum assistance under federal law. New York State established the Safety Net Program, but it is not eligible for federal reimbursement, therefore, the state decided to send 71% of the bill to the county’s property taxpayers, rather than fully fund their program at the state level.”

The legislature must finalize the budget before the end of the year.