Does state budget steal money from counties?

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - Does New York state’s recent budget steal from local counties? State Senator Mark Walczyk thinks so.

The spending plan out of Albany takes federal dollars away from local counties and puts them into the state’s coffers. The money is supposed to help counties pay for medical expenses for low-income people through Medicaid.

Losing the money means counties will have to make it up elsewhere, meaning from local residents.

“To shift that burden onto local taxpayers is egregious, especially when you’re talking about counties that have high Medicaid populations because those are also the poorest counties in New York state,” said Walczyk (R. - 49th District).

In St. Lawrence County, Legislative Chairman David Forsythe, says to make up for what the state is taking away, over time, residents could see a 6 percent increase in taxes because it stands to lose $3 million.

“This is just the state transferring money doing what they do best and this money is intended to go to the county. Now they’re going to cut it off before it gets here. It’s definitely not going to help our situation whatsoever,” said Forsythe (R. - District 2).

Add up all the money the state is taking from counties and we’re talking around a billion dollars.

Walczyk says in the $229 billion spending plan, if New York needed to find a billion dollars, there were other areas to look at other than taking it from county governments.

“If you took just the Hollywood and Broadway tax credits handed out in this budget, they totaled a billion dollars. So, one could make the argument that instead of funding for failed Netflix series and for Broadway and off-Broadway productions, we should probably be sending the money where it’s legally supposed to go,” he said.

Walczyk and other Republican state senators have a bill that mandates the federal money must go to counties, and New York can’t touch it. There are 3 weeks left in the legislative session for it to be passed.