Counties in New York differ greatly from other local governments across the state due to the large number of state programs counties must administer and fund with local resources.
Counties are required under New York State law to implement and finance more than 40 state defined and controlled programs including:
- Public assistance for adults and families
- Indigent criminal defense legal services
- Child welfare,
- Preschool special education,
In most states, counties are not required to pay for these types of programs to the same degree as counties in New York.
In return for administering and paying for these mandated services, the State partially reimburses counties, but the shortfall is made up by county property taxpayers.
A high number of state imposed mandates = high property taxes.
Medicaid is the number one state imposed cost for counties. The coast of Medicaid paid by counties equals about half of the county property tax levy statewide (outside NYC).
Mandate relief for counties and local taxpayers requires the State to lower the cost of state mandated programs. This will reduce pressure on local property taxes. Effective in 2015, legislation enacted by the State Legislature and the Governor capped the growth in the counties’ share of Medicaid costs at $7.5 billion per year. This represents a strong commitment to reducing pressure on local property taxes. Counties continue to advocate for further reducing the cost of state mandates.
When the state takes more fiscal responsibility for their own programs counties can lower property taxes.
The links below provide more information about the types of mandates counties must implement on behalf of the state and what that means for local taxpayers.
NYSAC Articles, White Papers and Reports
- Memorandum in Support of S.2323 (Griffo) / A.2922 (Brindisi) - AN ACT to amend the general municipal law and the education law, in relation to prohibiting the establishment of certain programs mandated for municipal corporations and school districts unless such programs are fully funded by the state. (January 2018)
- 9 for 90 Growth Trends (May 2017)
- Lowering Property Taxes in New York State (March 2017)
- County Medicaid Cost as a Share of Property Tax Levy - chart (2017)
- Working Together: Local Governments Sharing Services (January 2017)
- Local government units in New York State: How much is too much? (2014)
- Mayday for Mandate Relief
- NYS Budget Fact Sheet: District Attorney Salaries
- NYS Budget Fact Sheet: End Cost Shifts
- Real and Permanent Mandate Relief
- How State Mandates Impact Property Taxes
- State Programs Funded by Counties
- Video presentation: How State Mandates Have Changed Counties
- Video: NYS Mandates and County Property Taxes