Statement by NYSAC President Jack Marren

Statement by NYSAC President Jack Marren in Response to a Budget Proposal to Give the State Division of Budget Authority to Cut State Reimbursement to Counties on a Quarterly Basis

“Counties are highly concerned with proposals granting broad authority to unilaterally reduce reimbursements to local governments based on available state revenue, reported monthly. The vast majority of expenses incurred by county governments, which is local government, are the services mandated by the state to be delivered locally. These, primarily, are state health and social welfare programs—areas being called upon now at extremely high levels. 

“Allowing the state to alter statutory reimbursement for these state services in any given quarter by double digit percentages simply places these state costs on the backs of homeowners and small businesses across the state, local taxpayers. Counties are experiencing unprecedented revenue losses just like the state and they will not have the capacity to generate local revenues to back fill the loss of state reimbursements. County budgets are set. New revenues cannot be raised, and existing revenues are falling precipitously.

The state proposal does not appear to provide counties any flexibility in implementing state programs in a way that recognizes available local revenues in most counties. Even with broad flexibility to change state rules, most counties would not be able to sustain the loss of state reimbursement for even one quarter on top of intensified spending needs to deal with the pandemic and the precipitous loss of local revenues due to quarantines and the shutting down of economic activity.  The state must rethink this proposal and ensure counties have the resources on the front lines to manage the current crisis.”