Counties Call on Legislature to Hold Firm in Negotiations and Remove $625M Hit from Final Budget Negotiations
A Statement by NYSAC President Michael Zurlo

We applaud our partners in the State Senate and Assembly for rejecting Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to shift $625 million in new costs to counties for the State’s Medicaid program from their one-house budget plans.

At a time when we are all focused on making New York more affordable and responsive to the needs of our residents, the last thing we need is to raise costs for homeowners, renters, and businesses across the state.

As state leaders embark on negotiating final terms for the 2024 State Fiscal Year (SFY) Budget, we encourage them to completely remove this proposal from consideration.

New York’s counties are in the unenviable position of being mandated by the state to contribute more to their state’s Medicaid program than the rest of our nation’s 3,000 counties combined. The State made progress on this problem, first in 2005, and again in 2015 when it capped the local share of Medicaid. These caps were critical to stop the bleeding and enabled the vast majority of our counties to hold yearly property tax increases below 2 percent in recent years. We can’t afford to go back.

The state has assumed the growth of the Medicaid expenses since 2015 and this has substantially helped relieve the local tax burden. But it is worth noting that the counties of New York have contributed $132 billion since 2005 to offset the state’s Medicaid program and leverage the federal Medicaid match.

The Governor’s proposal would add another $6.75 billion to the county and NYC Medicaid bill over the next decade, on top of the $76 billion that counties are slated to pay under the current cap, for a total of $82.75 billion in local tax dollars over the next ten years.

In addition, we commend both houses of the State Legislature for rejecting an ill-conceived foreclosure proposal and for increasing support to counties to fund pay increases for 18-b public defense attorneys.

As we enter the final stages of budget negotiations, New Yorkers are counting on budget negotiators to protect property taxpayers.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all the counties of New York State, including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, serve and advocate for member counties and the elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.