The County Perspective for February 12, 2018

Shared Services Testimony, Issue Updates,  State and Federal Budget Updates, Conference Videos, and more.


NYSAC Update

NYSAC Submits Testimony on Shared Services
On Monday, February 12, 2018, NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario provided the county perspective on “Shared Services and Expanding State-Local Partnerships” to the Senate Standing Committee on Local Governments.
The testimony focused on the county role in the County-wide Shared Services Initiative, the local reaction to the panels, the results of county efforts, and an analysis of the success of the initiative, and recommendations for how to achieve greater property tax savings.
Read the full testimony here.
NYSAC Recognized for Excellence in Government Relations and Meetings
On Thursday, February 8, 2018, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) accepted two awards from the Empire State Society of Association Executives (ESSAE), a group representing professional association executives employed by trade, business and professional associations.
NYSAC's first award was for Association Excellence in Government Relations for its campaign called Leveraging Data to Increase State and Local Action in the Opioid Crisis. NYSAC's 2017 Women's Leadership Council event, Meeting of the Minds: Discussions on the Issues Facing Women in County Government, won for Association Excellence in Meetings & Expos. 
Read the press release.
Legislative Conference Recap
The 2018 Legislative Conference has come and gone, but the wealth of information provided lives on.  We've collected resources from the conference and provided links below:
The full packet of resolutions can be downloaded here:
To view individual resolutions by issue area, visit NYSAC's Issue Areas page and select the issue area to the left. The 2018 resolutions can be found on each issue page.
Member and speaker interviews – hot topics facing NY's counties
Exhibitors and Sponsors

State Update

Legislative Update
The week of February 12th will make the seventh week of the 2018 Legislative Session, both house will convene Monday February 12th and Tuesday, February 13th.
The Senate and Assembly will conclude their joint budget hearings:
  • Monday, February 12 -  Health and Medicaid
  • Tuesday, February 13 – Mental Hygiene
In addition, the Governor is scheduled to release his 30-Day Amendments to his released Executive Budget Proposal. The Governor has stated the 30-day amendments will include:
  • Banning Sales of Synthetic Marijuana Across New York State
  • Adding 11 fentanyl analogs to the state controlled substances schedule
On Monday, February 12th, NYSAC will testify at the Senate Local Government Hearing on Shared Services. The purpose of the hearing is to have local governments, local elected officials and local government advocacy organizations discuss shared services and how Albany can better partner with localities.
Statewide Pharmaceutical Stewardship Program
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on February 9, 2018 held the second of their three-part meeting regarding a state creating a statewide pharmaceutical stewardship program.   Their first meeting was with chain pharmacies, the second with local governments and municipalities, and the last one will be help with the pharmaceutical companies and manufactures. The DEC was tasked with creating a report of the feasibility of creating and implements a stewardship program, including a requirement that manufacturers provide, at no cost to consumers, collection receptacles or local governments.

Federal Update

Federal Budget Agreement
Congress, while slightly late, did approve another continuing resolution early Friday morning that will fund the government through March 23rd at existing levels. In addition, part of the overall agreement includes a two-year deal on funding levels for the federal government through September 30, 2019. Over the next several weeks congress will work on the details of the funding agreement and enact the full funding for the current federal fiscal year and next year. The two-year budget agreement not only includes new funding levels it also extends numerous expired tax credits and programs, as well as completely new laws. The highlights include:
  • Increases spending caps for Defense programs by $165 billion over the next two years ($80 billion in FFY 2018, and $85 billion in FFY 2019)
  • Increases non-defense caps are increased by $128 billion over the next two years ($63 billion in FFY 2018, and $68 billion above the caps in FFY 2019)
  • Provides $89 billion in emergency disaster aid for hurricanes impacting gulf coast states and U.S. Territories in the Caribbean, and fires in the West 
  • Extends the authority to not withstand the $20.5 trillion public debt limit through March 1, 2019
  • Extends over 30 expired tax credits and deductions (most expired in 2016 and are retroactively approved back to 2016)
  • Extends the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years (the last CR extended this program for 6 years)
  • Extends or modifies dozens of Medicare services and programs
  • Enacts the Families First Prevention Services Act – New York State has long opposed this legislation as it requires a significant realignment of how the state provides services to children in foster care and efforts to prevent foster care placements. There is a high likelihood of significant costs shifts from the federal government to the state, and from the state to counties, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The temporary continuing resolution and overall two-year budget agreement passed with bipartisan votes in both chambers – neither party could pass the bills without support from the other side. The “no” votes fell into two camps – 1) those opposed because the bill did not address immigration issues (including border security and a resolution to the DACA deportation issue), and 2) those opposed because of the significant increases in the federal deficit the bill will cause (over the next two years the deficit will increase by nearly $400 billion, and over the next 10 years if these new funding levels are sustained it increases the federal deficit by nearly $2 trillion dollars). Deficit hawks are also highly concerned that as soon as 2019 the federal government could be running $1 trillion dollar plus annual deficits due to the additional spending in this budget agreement and the lower federal revenues caused by the federal tax cut bill enacted in December. Deficits of this size have not been seen since the depths of the Great Recession.

Training and Grant Opportunities

Emergency Communication Grant Funding
On Wednesday, February 7, 2018 Governor Cuomo announced the $55 million in state grant funding had been awarded to counties statewide and the City of New York for enhancing emergency communications. This funding is from the Fiscal Year 2017-18. This funding assists local governments to expand their ability to communicate, exchange valuable data, and streamline information to enhance collaboration and assist first responders. The State Interoperable Communications Grant allows for $45 million to local governments, and $10 million to localities for Public Safety Answering Points Operations.

More information can be found here.