(Wampsville, NY – May 21, 2012) Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker was joined by his fellow Supervisors, business owners, community organizations, and local residents to call on New York State to enact immediate relief from unfunded mandates. As “Mayday” is recognized as an international call for help, Madison County leaders and taxpayers are calling for relief from State-mandated programs that continue to take enormous portions of local property taxes and County revenue to fund state programs.
“County revenue and local property taxes are being swallowed in the undertow of New York State’s powerful current of unfunded mandates. They take away from needed investments in our roads, sewers, and other infrastructure that would improve our economy and create jobs. They force residents to pay higher property taxes. They make seniors on fixed incomes struggle. They make home ownership for young families sometimes unattainable. This is a deterrent to prosperity,” stated Chairman Becker.
Nine unfunded mandates alone consume 90% of the county property tax levies across New York State. This negatively impacts the residents of Madison County. In Madison County alone State Medicaid mandates make up 40 percent of the $29 million tax levy – more than $11 million dollars. Other state programs that drive local Madison County revenue to Albany include: public assistance safety net services, child welfare, preschool special education, early intervention, indigent defense, probation, youth detention, and pensions. After the total amount of revenue that Madison County takes in and spends on county government, unfunded mandates consume over 100% of the local property tax levy. State mandates include many necessary services, but more of the funding for these services has to be the responsibility of New York State.
Chairman Becker cited three common-sense examples of proposed mandate relief reforms that would help provide relief for Madison County and property tax payers.
- New York State should pay a much larger share of Medicaid costs. This is the largest burden on the local tax base.
- New York State must reform Early Intervention so that non-governmental safety nets like private insurance cover medically necessary early intervention services instead of leaving the entire cost to tax payers.
- New York State should implement reforms to offset probation costs such as charging those who have committed crimes with a reasonable probation set-up fee that would help increase revenue for the program.
Chairman Becker praised the efforts of Governor Cuomo to push for greater mandate relief policies saying, “Not everyone in New York State government can be blamed for this. There have been years of elected officials funding their priorities with our county’s wallet. Thankfully, we have the leadership of a Governor who not only understands our concerns, but has made mandate relief one of his top priorities. We need our State Senators and Assemblymen to approach mandate relief with the same level of commitment and vigor as Governor Cuomo.”
Another pressing problem that Madison County now faces from unfunded mandates is significant cuts to local non-profits. With more and more money going to Albany, there are less funds available to support local non-profits. Currently, Madison County government contributes over $1.4M to local organizations such as libraries, Madison County ARC, substance abuse treatment programs, and the Office for the Aging. (See the full list and financial breakdown at the end of release.)
Theresa Davis, the Executive Director of the Madison County Office of the Aging said, “Madison County Office for the Aging is a non -profit that relies on funding from Madison County for essential services such as home care, meals on wheels, congregate meals, health insurance counseling and 30 other programs and services. Since 1977, the Office for the Aging has offered services to senior citizens in order for them to remain at home as productive citizens in their own communities. We are very concerned that with the costs of state mandates rising, without mandate relief, Madison County will have to cut our funding. Sending more funds to Albany hurts our organization and our seniors.”
Mandates, that drive up local property taxes, hurt residents and businesses.
“As a small business owner, a taxpayer, and a job provider who works to promote businesses and community, I fully understand how the State’s unfunded mandates are an obstacle to job creation, reasonable local taxes, and the health of the general economy. Mandate reform will help to maintain existing business as well as spurring business growth and expansion to generate revenue and promote a healthy economy,” stated Terry Karst, Owner of Karst Tree Service.
“As a resident of Madison County who has been actively involved in civic organizations, managing volunteers, and working to improve our community, I can say that without mandate relief citizens will suffer. High property taxes driven by unfunded mandates hurt seniors on fixed incomes and young families just starting a life here. Coupled with potential cuts to community programs unfunded mandates create struggles for government, non-profit service groups, and citizens. Madison County has a great quality of life. We need mandate relief so that doesn’t change,” said Madison County resident Morris Atwood.
The Governor’s Mandate Relief Council is reviewing mandates identified by local governments to reduce the burden local communities. Madison County needs mandate relief now.
Organizations that Madison County contributes to:
|Affiliated Conservation Clubs||
|Canastota Public Library||
|Cazenovia Public Library||
|CNY Regional Planning & Development Board||
|Community Action Program for Madison County||
|Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County||
|Deruyter Free Library||
|Earlville Free Library||
|Food Bank of Central New York||
|Hamilton Public Library||
|Madison Cortland Chapter NYSARC||
|Madison County Children’s Camp||
|Madison County Cooperative Extension (AED)||
|Madison County Council on Alcohol & Substance Abuse||
|Madison County Fair||
|Madison County Historical Society||
|Madison County Industrial Development Agency||
|Madison County Office for the Aging||
|Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District||
|Mid-York Library System||
|New Woodstock Library||
|Sullivan Free Library||