Sleepy Hollow, NY
– Citing incumbent Senator Greg Ball’s record on taxes as one of “broken promises,” State Senate candidate Justin Wagner
announced his tax relief plan for the Hudson Valley yesterday in Brewster and today in Sleepy Hollow. Wagner was joined by county and local leaders at both events, including Southeast Councilwoman Lynne Eckardt
and Putnam County legislative candidates Luz Shulgin
, Paul Morini
, and Cathie Sloat
in Brewster, and County Board of Legislators Majority Leader Pete Harckham
and Deputy Mayor Karin Wompa
in Sleepy Hollow. Lowering Property Taxes by Providing Relief from State-Mandated Costs
Wagner, a Hudson Valley homeowner and first-time candidate, called for an end to campaign-season tax promises without follow-through. “This is really simple: Greg Ball has spent six years in Albany now, and our property taxes haven’t gone down,” said Justin Wagner
. “Governor Cuomo’s cap on property tax hikes was a good start, but Senator Ball seems to think that was all he needed to do.” According to the New York State Association of Counties, the new property tax cap limits counties to raising $114 million in new property tax revenue, but in large part because of state-mandated costs, counties’ expenses will increase by $244 million. Wagner
continued: “With the property tax cap in place, it’s time to clear the way for county and local governments to take the next step: actually cutting their costs and cutting property taxes
. That means changing the law to reform state mandates, which is a promise on which Senator Ball and his Albany Republican backers have failed to follow through.” Two key examples of costs forced down onto local governments from the state are:
County Level: Medicaid Costs
- Putnam County’s share of this burden represents roughly a quarter of Putnam’s property tax levy.
- Westchester County’s share of this burden represents roughly 40 percent of Westchester’s entire property tax levy.
- This is an inefficient way to pay for Medicaid, and it’s a major driver of property taxes.
- In this fiscal year, this policy will force nearly $7.3 billion in Medicaid costs onto county governments – an outsize expense forcing up property taxes.
- New York is one of a minority of states that force a large portion of their Medicaid costs down onto county governments, driving up property taxes.Local Government and School District Level:
Runaway Pension Costs
- When costs have surged in the state-mandated pension system due to swings in pension fund performance, the costs to local governments forced to participate in the system have exploded, spilling over into local property tax increases.
- A. 8505, legislation with bipartisan support in the Assembly but which has not been introduced in the Senate, would cap pension cost spikes for local governments at 2 percent, take the pressure off property taxes, and force the state government to budget for the overflow rather than forcing up local property taxes.
Just this week, Senator Ball held a press conference calling for action in a post-election special session of the legislature to deal with mandate relief, claiming Gov. Cuomo’s tax cap would be incomplete without it – yet on the single biggest mandate crushing counties, Medicaid costs, Senator Ball has stood in the way and actually opposed mandate relief. Wagner campaign manager Steve Napier commented: “This is a classic Albany move – do nothing to solve the problem, then come back home and hold a press conference with vague demands for action and no details.” More Background Senator Ball’s Opposition to Eliminating County Medicaid Costs – http://www.theexaminernews.com/sen-ball-opposes-state-medicaid-takeover/
- This article includes a truly nonsensical quote from Sen. Ball, who claimed he knew “damn well” that counties would not lower property taxes if relieved of their Medicaid cost burdens.
- For reference: in Westchester, Medicaid costs represent a burden roughly equivalent to 40 percent of the county property tax levy. In Putnam, Medicaid costs represent a burden roughly equivalent to a quarterof the county’s property tax levy, and are the county’s single biggest state-mandated expense.
- Medicaid costs are a huge burden on counties. Senator Ball claims to champion mandate relief, but he has accomplished little and opposes eliminating county Medicaid costs, which are the single biggest burden on county property taxpayers.