County Perspective for February 21, 2019

This Week's State and Federal News for NY's County Leaders.

State Update

Governor Releases 30-Day Amendments
The Governor released his 30-day amendments on Friday, February 15th. The amendments can be found here.
As part of the 30-day amendment package, the Governor proposed a restoration of AIM cuts through a mechanism where counties would be forced to share a portion of our sales tax revenue with municipalities the state had stopped providing AIM funding to. The move directly shifts a state cost to county taxpayers as a way to make local governments whole.  
In a response to this proposal, NYSAC Executive Director, Stephen Acquario released the following statement:
The Governor's thirty-day amendment “fix” to earlier cuts to the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) uses future Internet sales tax revenue that he is taking from counties to pay for cuts he levied on other local governments.
This is a horrible precedent and unnecessarily shifts the state's burden to local taxpayers who already pay some of the highest taxes in the nation.
The state could have used its share of Internet sales tax revenue to make municipalities whole.
Forcing counties to use a portion of their internet sales tax revenue to reimburse our municipal partners does not help the state reduce property taxes or help to offset the costs of services to our residents.
In the end, local homeowners and businesses just keep paying for decisions made by the State.
NYSAC has drafted a model resolution that can be adapted by counties that want to formally oppose the Governor's 30-Day Amendment to the 2019-20 Executive State Budget that shifts a $60 million state cut to AIM funding to be funded with county sales tax revenues. Please click here for a copy of that resolution. [document link]
NYSAC has been meeting with leadership from both the Assembly and Senate to advocate for county concerns as each chamber crafts their one-house budget bills. We will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure NYSAC legislative and budget priorities are heard and considered.
Next Steps in the State Budget Process
Both houses of the State Legislature will release their one house versions of the state budget during the first week of March, shortly after they come to an agreement on the revenue projections for the 2019-20 State Fiscal Year. 
Throughout the following six-week process, your NYSAC legislative team will continue to advocate on a range of county concerns, until a state budget is enacted by April 2, 2019. 
NYSAC encourages all county officials to weigh in with members of the State Legislature on issues of local concern. View NYSAC's budget advocacy resources here.
NYSAC Testifies Before NYS Legislature Joint Fiscal Committees
On February 11, NYSAC testified on the 2019-20 State Budget proposal to the fiscal committees of the New York State Legislature. Read the full testimony here.
NYSAC's testimony addressed several proposals in the state budget, including legalizing marijuana, Internet sales tax, the property tax cap, raise the age implementation, early voting, shared services, community college funding, the bottle bill expansion, and several other state policies that directly impact counties. 

Video: NYS Budget Analysis from NYSAC's Dave Lucas
During the Legislative Conference, attendees heard from NYSAC's Director of Finance Dave Lucas about the potential county impact of the NYS Executive Budget Proposal.
Dave began with a discussion of New York's current economic conditions and followed with an analysis of the Governor's Budget Proposal, items that could impact counties both positively and negatively, and which issues NYSAC will be focusing advocacy efforts on. View the budget analysis portion of the presentation here. View the full presentation here.
Federal Update
US Supreme Court Rules State and Local Governments are Prohibited From Excessive Seizures and Fines
The 8th Amendment of the US Constitution states that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This amendment was tested recently, and on February 20, 2019 the US Supreme Court decided that state and local governments are subject to this US Constitutional provision. This case stems out of the State of Indiana where a car valued at over $40,000.00 was seized by local authorities.
Under State of Indiana's civil forfeiture laws, the arresting entity can seize property that is used to aid in certain criminal activities. However, the State also has in place monetary fine restrictions based, in part, on the level of the crime. In this case that monetary fine limit was $10,000.00.  
The plaintiff brought suit in this matter claiming that state and local civil forfeiture laws must comply with the 8th amendment and that seizing a car of this value was excessive. The State lower courts agreed that this seizer was excessive and should be prohibited by the 8th amendment.
The question before the US Supreme Court was whether the 8th Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause could be applied to State and local governments under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause? Unanimously, the High Court ruled that it does apply to states and localities.
It is important to note that this case does not prohibit civil forfeiture of property but only excessive forfeiture. To read this case in its entirety find the following link:
News from NYSAC

Save the Date: 53rd Annual County Finance School

May 1-3, 2019
Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel
Syracuse, New York
Recent News
View all of NYSAC's recent press releases here.
View the January 2019 resolutions adopted by the NYSAC membership here:
NYSAC Whitepapers and Reports
Click on the report title below to view the document. Legislative Conference: Materials and Resource Wrap-Up
Did you miss the Legislative Conference? Were you there and want to share the excellent experience with others? Here is a roundup of presentations, video, photos, and more from last week's event:
Photos- View a gallery of photos from the 2019 Legislative Conference on our Facebook page.
NYSAC 2019 Legislative Conference Wrap-up
Ethics and Integrity in Government: Workshop with Stuart Brody
2019 State Budget Workshop with Dave Lucas, NYSAC Director of Finance and Intergovernmental Relations
Cannabis Plenary Session: Presentations
View slideshows and handouts from conference workshops here.

Training and Grant Opportunities

Apply now: U.S. Department of Transportation awarding up to $902.5 million in grant funding for infrastructure improvement projects
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced up to $902.5 million in available funds through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program. INFRA provides federal funding for transportation infrastructure projects aimed at addressing critical issues facing America's highways and bridges. The deadline to apply is March 4, 2019. Instructions for submitting applications can be found here
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 established the INFRA program, which awarded nearly $1.5 billion to 26 projects in Fiscal Year 2018. During this round of funding, DOT will award both large and small projects with INFRA grant funding. Large projects must be at least $25 million and small projects at least $5 million. At least 10 percent of available funds will be reserved for small projects. Additionally, DOT will award 25 percent of INFRA grant funding to rural projects.

According DOT, INFRA grants may be used to fund a variety of infrastructure projects, though projects that have significant investments secured by the local sponsor and that are in position to begin rapid construction will be favored. Eligible INFRA projects may include: reconstruction, rehabilitation and acquisition of property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, equipment acquisition and operational improvements directly related to system performance. (Via NACo)

The County Job Board
Does your county have a job opening to share? Send it along to
Do you know someone looking for an opportunity in county government? Send them over to the NYSAC County Job Board!