Madison County: ‘State budget on track to spend more local revenues’

John M. Becker

County leaders say state is commandeering local property and sales taxes

Last year, counties and New York City sent more than $12 billion to Albany to fund state mandated programs and services. So far, the state budget being negotiated by the governor and legislative leaders is poised to spend another $200 million in local tax dollars each year.

“What used to be a county property tax has become a state property tax,” said NYSAC President Charles H. Nesbitt, Jr., the chief administrative office for Orleans County. “And what used to be a local sales tax is now being commandeered by state leaders to spend on state obligations.”

Madison County officials say they county spends $37,891,830 on state-mandated programs and services, which consumes 95.28 percent of the property taxes we collected last year.

“Our taxpayers are under constant assault by the state of New York taking every single property tax dollar they can to pay for their programs,” said Madison County Board Chairman John M. Becker. “This budget ramps up this assault significantly.”

The pending state budget is expected to include an Internet Fairness Act that will facilitate the collection of sales taxes on online purchases, which is expected to increase revenue for counties, but the budget also includes new mandates, costs shifts and cuts that will consume more than the anticipated new tax revenue,” Becker said. “In fact, at statewide basis, there are more than $200 million in new costs being placed on county taxpayers in this state budget. That’s millions more than counties will collect in new internet sales tax revenue.

“And the bulk of those costs come from a requirement that counties cover a $60 million cut in the state’s Assistance and Incentives to Municipalities program.”

He said other new mandates include early voting, cashless bail and a new lead monitoring program.

“Using local revenues to pay for state programs is the reason New Yorkers suffer from the highest property tax burden in the country,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “They take local tax dollars and use them at the state level. These are state property taxes, not county property taxes. And unfortunately, this will only become worse if lawmakers do not reverse these new mandates, cost shifts and program expansions being proposed in this budget.”

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