County Property Taxpayers Send $1 Billion a Month to Fund State Budget Programs
Mandate Monitor Launched to Track State Role in County Property Taxes.
The New York State Association of Counties today released its Mandate Monitor to help counties quantify how local property taxes are used by the State to pay for state programs and services.
Last year, local taxpayers spent more than $12 billion on just 9 major state programs. That means local taxpayers sent $1 billion a month to Albany; funds that never got spent to improve the communities in which those taxpayers live.
The timing of the Mandate Monitor coincides with State Budget proposals that add even more unfunded mandates on counties (not including NYC). When combined with bills already signed into law this year, county property taxpayers and small businesses are staring down more than $200 million in state mandated cost shifts and new expenses.
These new mandates and cost shifts are more than double the allowable property tax cap inflation growth for counties in 2019. These new proposals include:
- a mandate that counties reimburse other local governments for $60 million in state imposed cuts to nearly 1,300 towns and villages,
- election reforms with net projected costs approaching $30 million,
- a 3 percent across-the-board cut in all local assistance if state revenue estimates fall short - which they have in each of the last four years - counties estimate this will cost about $80 million, and
- Bail reforms that will likely increase costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.
"The state has managed to spend nearly every penny of property taxes through mandated state spending at the local level. Now the State is reaching into and spending local sales tax. When will the State's reliance on local taxes end?" said NYSAC President Charles H. Nesbitt, Jr., the chief administrative officer in Orleans County.
"State policymakers have made claims that the property tax is biggest burden facing New Yorkers. We agree. But state mandates are the biggest driver, and the Mandate Monitor will demonstrate how the state is diverting local tax revenue to fund more and more of the state budget," said Stephen J. Acquario, NYSAC Executive Director.