Glens Falls, NY – Local officials continue to weigh in to support the Medicaid Local Share Limitation initiative that would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments.
“Counties across my district and across New York are being unfairly subjected to massive financial liabilities being imposed by the state that can have severe impact on our local property taxes,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “This amendment would make New York State take responsibility for their own budgeting, freeing up needed funds at the county level for local governments to use in our communities. I thank my colleagues in the New York delegation for their work on this important issue and will continue to work in Congress to serve the needs of my district."
What They’re Saying:
Randy Preston, Chairman of Essex County Board of Supervisors: “As Essex Chairman, I applaud Rep. Stefanik in supporting this important amendment as the Medicaid costs are crushing counties, and then it rolls down to the property tax as there is no other way to fund this at the County level.”
Mike Tabolt, Chairman, Lewis County Board of Legislators: “For too long New York State has handed our local taxpayers a directive to participate in a program they have no voice in. The passing of this amendment would present the opportunity to give our overwhelmed property tax payers immediate relief by forcing New York State to be accountable as they determine how they will pay for the richest Medicaid Plan in our Nation.”
Spencer Hellwig, Saratoga County Administrator: “Medicaid represents $24.5M of the county’s $56.5M net cost for unfunded State mandates. Virtually every State in the nation covers the entire local share of Medicaid which means 50% Federal and 50% State. Unfortunately, in NYS it is 50% Federal, 25% State, and 25% County and the reality is all the decisions related to services and benefits are made at the State level with us left to pay for programs we have no control over.
“Further, the current Tax Cap law is a one size fits all approach that ignores the fact that Saratoga County was way ahead of the curve in terms of maintaining the lowest and most stable tax rate in the entire state. The Board of Supervisors has done this on their own for 30 years without the State of New York passing legislation that is shortsighted in terms of our operational and capital needs.
“Relative to the State or governor proposing the use of local sales tax dollars to cover the proposed Medicaid cost shift I can only say that we’re already paying more than our fair share under the circumstances. The County already splits their sales tax collections with the Towns and the Cities so this legislation will further complicate our ability to provide an assortment of non-mandated services like public safety, road & bridge maintenance, public health programs, mental health programs, and veterans services. Taking away any of our sales tax with the current tax cap in place with force the Board to eliminate or significantly scale back essential services for our residents.”
Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I,Ref-Ballston): “New York is one of the few states in the country that forces local governments to shoulder the weight of Medicaid expenses, and this financial burden continues to limit the counties ability to pay for necessary programs and services. By mandating the State of New York to take over this enormous cost, counties would be provided the opportunity to lower property taxes and provide relief for their residents over time. Moving forward, it is critical for State and Federal leaders to work together to enact the best possible solution for New Yorkers.”
Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River): “My Conference has been pushing for mandate relief for years, only to be blocked by the Assembly Democrats on each occasion. It’s time we relieve the stress that the Medicaid bill places on our localities and force the State of New York to shoulder this financial burden.
“We must also pass legislation to ensure the surplus funds from this transfer of responsibility find their way back into the pockets of taxpayers and that property tax relief is included with this policy. The taxpayers of this state have been beholden to overspending for far too long, and this is our opportunity to repay them for their troubles.”
Kevin Acres, Chairman, SLC Board of Legislators: “One half of St. Lawrence County's local tax levy, 24 million dollars , goes to New York State's mandate that counties pay half of their Medicaid expenses. If the mandate was removed, St. Lawrence County could potentially lower county taxes by 60%.”
Scott Gray, Chairman, Jefferson County Board of Legislators: “The proposed amendment would give us greater ability to hold the line on property taxes while at the same time maintain our roads and bridges, which currently is not happening at the level necessary to prevent severe deterioration. Further, other programs and services that are provided by the utilization of local tax dollars are at risk of being seriously diminished or even eliminated.
This amendment is extremely important for today and future generations in order for us to be stewards of the taxpayers' assets and not pass on unnecessary debt to the next generation.”
G. Michael Kinowski, Chairman, Fulton County Board of Supervisors: “I am writing regarding federal legislation sponsored by the New York State Congressional delegation that would remove the giant burden of Medicaid costs from property tax payers in the state. The Board of Supervisors strongly supports the legislation to halt the NYS Medicaid Mandate.
“This legislation, if enacted, will simultaneously reduce county property taxes by 50 percent and unleash an unprecedented economic revival all across New York State. It is definitely a step in the right direction and I commend you for your forthright efforts to get it enacted.”
James Monty, Supervisor, Town of Lewis: “I feel this is long overdue and support this completely. New York State has a history of unfunded mandates that trickle down to the local governments, County and Town. While removing the burden from the State, we still have to account for the funding somehow. The State would like people to believe that they are reducing the burden on taxpayers to make themselves look good, instead shifting this to the local level trying to make it appear that local government is at fault. Kudos to Congresswoman Stefanik for standing up for the local people.”
Edward "Ned" LeMieux, Supervisor, Town of Duane: “I am fully in favor of any amendment, proposal, or law that will mitigate the strain that Medicaid payments put on our County Legislators. This would be a tax break that, in my view would benefit all Franklin County taxpayers. This amendment also shows me that Elise is working on our behalf, just as she said she would.”
Matthew Hicks, Vice Chairman, Washington County Board of Supervisors: “I am supportive of this proposal as it would allow Counties in Upstate NY to provide much needed property tax relief to our constituents. In Washington County, over 1/3 or our tax levy is Medicaid payments, which should be the responsibility of the State. We appreciate Elise looking out for the interests of rural New Yorkers.