County governments on Wednesday protested a potential cost shift in Gov. Kathy Hochul's $227 billion budget they warn could make it harder to keep property taxes down.
The New York State Association of Counties pointed to a provision that could withhold $625 million in federal funds, which has been counted on for a decade to avoid tax hikes.
At issue is cost sharing under the federal Medicaid program, which counties help administer. If approved as proposed, counties would lose $281 million in the first year and $345 million would be lost in New York City.
At issue is money provided to states as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The money has been used in New York to help fund Medicaid and to help counties offset the cost of expanding the program.
“Not only does this proposal harm New York’s local taxpayers, but it also subverts Congress’ intent for this funding to be shared with the local governments that contribute to the state’s Medicaid program,” said Clinton County Administrator Michael E. Zurlo, president of NYSAC. “At $7.6 billion a year, counties in New York contribute more than all other counties in the nation combined.”
In a letter, the 19 county executives in New York urged state lawmakers to reject the proposal.
“As a former county official, you can appreciate that new costs imposed on local governments eventually come out of all New Yorkers’ pockets in the form of increased property taxes which make our state a less affordable place to live, work, or start a business,” said the letter signed by New York’s bi-partisan group of county executives.