The county leaders who represent New York’s local property taxpayers unanimously adopted a resolution during their annual legislative conference, calling on Gov. Hochul to continue sharing …
The county leaders who represent New York’s local property taxpayers unanimously adopted a resolution during their annual legislative conference, calling on Gov. Hochul to continue sharing federal eFMAP funding. That funding is a form of Medicaid assistance that has been shared with counties for decades, and has been critical to local governments’ ability to keep property tax increases in check.
Members of the New York State Association of Counties voted on the resolution a day ahead of their typical resolutions meeting, taking the measure up during the Tuesday night dinner banquet, which was attended by more than 400 county officials.
“The governor’s plan to shift $625 million onto local property taxpayers would be so damaging to the residents we serve, and to affordability in New York State, that we felt we simply couldn’t wait to make the county voice heard on this issue,” said NYSAC president and Clinton County Administrator Michael Zurlo. “The governor, state legislators and the citizens of New York need to understand that if this plan is enacted, come April 1st, New Yorkers could see dramatic cuts to services as counties scramble to fill the giant hole this will blow in their budgets, and will unquestionably see significant increases in their housing costs, as property tax increases raise their monthly escrow payment and rent.”
County leaders also launched a new campaign, titled “Cost Shift Countdown,” that calls on the governor to reconsider her proposal, and state legislators to reject any state budget agreement that includes the governor’s proposal.
[The funding] has been critical to local governments’ ability to keep property tax increases in check over recent decades.
“In 2011, the state made a deal with local governments that said, ‘You can’t raise property taxes more than two percent a year, but to make that possible, we’ll cover any increases in the cost of Medicaid,’” said NYSAC executive director Stephen Acquario. “Counties kept our end of the bargain and held property tax increases in check, but now the state is shifting billions of dollars of new Medicaid costs onto counties over the next several years. New York taxpayers are already grappling with increasing costs to rent, housing, food and utilities, and can’t afford to bear the burden of rising Medicaid costs.”
The funding in question comes from the federal Affordable Care Act, and is intended to help offset the expansion of the Medicaid program across the United States. New York’s Congressional delegation, led by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, fought to ensure that the funds would be shared with counties, as New York is unique in the nation in the amount that local governments contribute to the Medicaid program—paying more than the counties of all other states combined.
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