NYSAC Statement on the State of our Counties
January 10, 2017The County Perspective
As state lawmakers return to Albany to conduct the people's business and Governor Andrew Cuomo his regional state of the state addresses, it is important to take note of and communicate the state of our counties, and the role the state plays in the county property tax levy.
The largest expense for counties continue to be state mandates. In New York, county expenditures are heavily driven by state law under which county governments are required to administer and fund an array of state and federal programs. The major cost categories for counties include health and human services, general government projects, employee salaries and benefits, and public safety.
Counties are required under state law to administer and fund a large array of state and federal programs. For most of these programs counties are required to follow strict state rules about what services must be provided, including the amount and duration of benefits. It is also important to note that counties in most other states do not have to administer such a large number of state programs using locally raised tax revenues.
If the Governor wants to reduce property taxes, then the State has to act to reduce the costs imposed on counties.
Counties have highlighted how the costs of just 9 state mandates (of more than 40 NYSAC has identified) add up to the entire primary revenue source available to most counties—the property tax. The chart below provides NYSAC's estimate of the impact state mandates can have on counties.
For more on county expenditures, visit https://www.nysac.org/files/CountyGovernmentExpenditures%2010617.pdf.