Senators and Assembly members have left Albany for Spring Break, they are scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday, May 3.
There remain 21 scheduled days of legislative session before June 16th when lawmakers will recess for the year. NYSAC continues to advocate for counties to ensure new programs place no additional financial burdens on county property taxpayers.
During these 21 remaining Legislative days NYSAC's key priorities include:
NYSAC's complete legislative platform for 2016, indicating session priorities by issue area, can be found here.
- Chapter Amendment for District Attorney Salaries
- Increase funding for 9-1-1 Emergency Communications
- Increase Indigent Defense Funding
County Leaders Call on the State to Reimburse Counties For District Attorney Salary Increase
On behalf of the state's 57 counties, NYSAC has called on the State Legislature to pass a chapter amendment to the 2016-17 State Budget that would require the state to pay the costs with mandated district attorney pay increase."This is a quintessential state mandate. The state raised the salary of an elected county official and they are making local taxpayers fund it," said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County Treasurer. Read the full press release.
First Quarter Sales Tax Receipts Show Continued Volatility
Nationally, we have seen reports of a not so good month of March for the retail sector (with durable goods and car sales slowing). There also continued to be downward pressure on local sales tax receipts due lower motor fuel prices in the first quarter of this year compared to last year. This combined with consumers saving a bit more of their income and reducing debt (vs. spending it) has resulted in a mixed bag for counties in regard to 1st quarter sales tax receipts compared to last year.
In the first quarter of 2016, 20 counties collected less than they did on the same quarter of 2015. To put this into perspective, the first quarter of 2015 was particularly bad for counties in regard to local sales tax receipts, with 33 counties collecting less sales tax in 2015 than they did in 2014 in the first quarter. Of the 20 counties that had negative receipts in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2015, 11 of them also experienced negative sales tax receipts in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 2014. These 11 counties were clustered along the Canadian border, Southern Tier and Schoharie Valley for the most part.
The first quarter of 2016, while showing mixed results, does show improvement over last year. In aggregate, total sales tax receipts for counties are up by 2.25% and the average change per county was nearly the same. New York City continued its positive sales tax returns in the first quarter with receipts up just under 3 percent over last year.
Details Emerge Regarding Local Allocation of CHIPS, PAVE NY Programs
Counties are encouraged that the Governor and the State Legislature allotted significant increases in funding for local roads and bridges through the PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY programs. County officials from across the state worked with the Governor and State Legislature to ensure these sorely needed local road dollars be distributed quickly and through the existing CHIPs program because it represented a fair and accepted methodology for distributing funds to localities.
The additional $100 million in PAVE-NY funding for local governments represents a 23 percent increase in base CHIPs funding and a 10 percent increase in total local CHIPS aid over last year (accounting for the one-time $50 million provided last year for harsh winter conditions). This increased PAVE-NY funding will be available for 4 years under the enacted budget. The multi-year increased funding availability will allow local officials to prioritize and plan projects in the most effective and efficient manner over the next several years, something sorely lacking in prior budgets.
Further, the budget agreement also includes an additional $100 million annually, for 4 years, in new BRIDGE-NY funding that envisions input from county and other local officials on priority bridge and culvert projects in their communities.
On April 13, 2015 more details emerged from the State as the local CHIPS and PAVE New York runs became public and local governments can now see the anticipated amounts for their region. For a copy of that click here.
New York State Senate Recognizes April as Donate Life Month
On Monday April 11, the Senate passed 5 bills that will provide additional resources and raise public awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation. Thee enacted state budget included $1 million to support the New York Alliance for Donation - an increase of $750,000 over last year - as part of the Senate's ongoing commitment to help New Yorkers in dire need of transplants. The bills that passed the Senate include:
View organ donation resources for counties.
- S7003, Senator Flanagan, would help educate high school students about organ, tissue, bone marrow, and blood donation.
- S5313, Senator Hannon, help increase the number of organ and tissue donors by lowering the age of consent for New Yorkers who choose to become a donor.
- S6952A, Senator Hannon, would provide an additional opportunity for New Yorkers to document their decision to enroll as an organ and tissue donor.
- S6528, Senator Carlucci, would make "Lauren's Law" permanent in New York. Lauren's Law is named after 12-year-old heart transplant survivor Lauren Shields of Stony Point, New York, and makes it easier to choose to be a donor when enrolling for a driver's license.
- S7013A Senator Serino, help medical transport teams operate within their necessary and sensitive time frames.