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COUNTIES COLLABORATE ON CONFLICT DEFENDER SERVICES

By Colleen Pillus, Dutchess County and Mark Longtoe, Ulster County

In December, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County   Executive Marc Molinaro jointly announced a shared services agreement  between the two counties to address the soaring State-mandated costs of  providing legal defense counsel to indigent clients. The county executives  have forged a cooperative agreement to garner a level of cost containment over a State mandated expense that has now reached a combined total of  nearly $3.9 million annually in Ulster and Dutchess counties, while maintaining high quality representation.

To date, when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing an eligible indigent client due to a legal conflict, a private attorney is  assigned. The attorney then bills the county according to rates established by New York State in a process referred to as “assigned counsel.”

The skyrocketing cost, coupled with decreased program aid from New York State, has placed a significant additional burden on counties to cover the cost of this mandated service. In 2011, this system of providing representation cost Ulster County taxpayers $1,345,653 while Dutchess  County taxpayers spent $2,540,000.

“Governments at every level must learn to work past political differences and municipal boundaries to focus on delivering results for the people. I am confident that the citizens of Ulster and Dutchess will benefit from this innovative collaboration,” said Ulster County Executive Hein.

County Executive Hein continued, “Not only does this pilot program  represent a $175,000 savings for Ulster County’s taxpayers, it represents a $300,000 total savings for our region’s taxpayers, all while those in need continue to receive high quality legal representation. This is truly a  win/win collaboration, and we both look forward to working with our respective legislatures to make it a reality.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “This agreement is the  first of its kind in New York State for county Public Defender’s Offices and  represents exactly the type of cooperative partnerships we need to embrace if we are to be successful in our efforts to deliver smaller, smarter government to our taxpayers. I am grateful to Public Defender Tom Angell for seeking out new and better ways to meet our residents’ needs, while reducing costs. We were very pleased to bring this plan to Ulster County and appreciate the support and cooperation of County Executive Hein to  make this partnership a reality.”

Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover added, “I want to thank  both County Executive Hein and County Executive Molinaro for this  innovative, cooperative approach to a fiscal problem that is plaguing  counties throughout the State. I am excited to take part in this shared  service arrangement, and look forward to working with Dutchess County’s  Public Defender Thomas Angell.”

Dutchess County Public Defender Thomas Angell noted, “This new  arrangement will permit each of our Public Defender Offices to create cost efficiencies while at the same time increasing the quality of legal services  provided. I look forward to this new partnership with Ulster County Public Defender’s Office. Our clients will better served by having access to full time defenders as well as the investigators, social workers and outside resources that our respective Public Defender Offices can provide.”

The one year agreement unveiled today will be a pilot program in County Court, City of Kingston Court and Town of Ulster Court in Ulster County;  and County Court and City of Poughkeepsie Court in Dutchess County.

Posted in NYSAC News Winter 2013 | Comments Off

NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 Table of Contents

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NYSAC News Fall 2014 Table of Contents

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Medicaid Cap and Pension Reform: Real Progress in Mandate Relief

By Dave Lucas, Director of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs

If lowering property taxes in New York State was akin to building a monument there would be varying opinions on what we have built so far. Some would say we have nothing more than a hole in the ground. Others may say we have built a very nice monument. Still others may say we have laid the cornerstone and construction is ready to proceed. In truth, New York has not lowered property taxes, but it has slowed the rate of growth.

For most of the last 50 years, New York State has been at or near the top of the list of states with the highest tax burden per capita. While comparing tax burdens across states, especially on a per capita basis, could lead to some mischaracterization, it is pretty clear that this is not a list any state wants to be on top of — especially for decades!

While some will quibble over the exact cause of high property taxes, a major contributing factor is that New York State, as a matter of public policy, uses property taxes to support a wide variety of state initiatives and public policy goals.

A recent study by The Pew Charitable Trusts shows that New York State gets more than 15 % of its revenue from local governments to fund and implement services. The average for the remaining 49 states is 0.8 %. By a factor of nearly 20 times, New York relies more than any other state on local government revenues to support state services and public policy goals. This is why our property taxes are 80 % above the national average.

For decades, Governors and state legislative leaders have wrung their hands over the high property tax burden in New York. In fits and starts, they have focused on reducing the state reliance on local revenues to pay for state programs. However, these efforts were not long lived, as new mandates were created, existing programs were expanded, and the many statutory promises to take more fiscal accountability over state programs never materialized.

Recent Actions May Lead to Real Change

While the state’s history in dealing with high property taxes has been lacking, recent actions are providing glimmers of hope. Given the magnitude of the problem it should be expected that fostering real change will take a long time. At the root, high spending causes high taxes, regardless of who is paying the bill (the state or local governments).

The Great Recession exposed the state’s habit of overspending, and it was forced to change. Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature have begun reversing decades of overspending. Five consecutive on-time budgets have each come in below two % growth, showing a commitment to budgeting in a more sustainable way.

The enactment of the state revenue cap on local governments (a.k.a. the property tax cap) was supposed to be part of a two-pronged attempt to address high property taxes. The second piece was mandate relief for local governments (meaning, the state would either take more fiscal responsibility for their own programs, or they would reform them so they would be less costly, or both). While the kind of mandate relief local governments have been hoping for has not yet come – the kind that will allow for the reduction of property taxes for today’s levels, not just slowing the rate of growth – the State has taken some important steps toward increasing their own fiscal responsibility and reforming high cost programs.

Medicaid Financing Reform

For counties, the biggest mandate reform has been the imposition of a cap on local costs for Medicaid. New York State requires counties to

pay $7.2 billion each year for the state’s Medicaid program. To make this clear, each week counties and NYC send $140 million in local taxes to State bank accounts, so they can pay for Medicaid bills. Counties in New York spend more on Medicaid than all the counties in the rest of the nation combined. These are big numbers and they have big impacts on local property taxpayers. The positive thing is that the state capped the growth in local Medicaid costs to no more than three % per year beginning in 2005, and beginning in 2015 these costs will no longer grow.

For Medicaid, the State has taken more fiscal responsibility for their program. This is a good thing because it improves accountability to the tax payer and the entity that controls the program must now take responsibility for the fiscal consequences. Implementing these growth caps was not easy or cheap for the State. When the state took on more responsibility for their program they realized they could not afford it. This lead to the next positive outcome–the State began to fundamentally reform its Medicaid program to make it more efficient, effective and affordable.

Had this Medicaid cap not been imposed, local taxes would have to be much higher than they are today—by billions of dollars. The Medicaid fiscal and program reforms taken by the State mean the program will be more sustainable for years to come and reduces pressure on future property tax growth significantly.

Pension Reform

Another major reform State Leaders took on recently was modifying the pension system for state and local public employees. Under State law, all local governments must participate in the state designed system. The Great Recession created huge losses in the public employee pension system and annual contributions from local governments quadrupled in just a few years. These costs impacted the state as an employer as well, so they were incentivized to create a more balanced system while retaining a generous pension benefit for employees.

The State’s creation of a new pension tier will cut nearly in half the annual pension costs for each new employee hired and will reduce future costs for the state and local governments by tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades.

It may have taken a once-in-many-generations fiscal crisis to force change, but the change, for now, seems to be sticking. The Governor and state legislature continue to be very careful not to impose new costs on local governments and have proven they can implement significant reforms that many thought were impossible. We are making progress, but we have a long way to go. The foundation is being built so we can get to the next phase of government reforms that will continue to improve fiscal accountability and provide a real opportunity to actually cut property taxes from current levels.

Posted in NYSAC News Winter 2015 | Comments Off

NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2015

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Counties Stay within Tax Cap Due to Extreme Cuts

This year, (51) fifty-one counties complied with the State-imposed property tax cap, according to a new report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. However, that compliance comes with a high price that cannot be sustained moving forward.

County leaders, strong fiscal stewards, have made difficult but necessary decisions to stay within the cap. These actions include depleting reserve funds, cutting the county workforce, deferring critical maintenance, and selling and privatizing assets such as nursing homes, public health clinics, mental health clinics, parks, landfills, buildings, and public land.

At the same time counties are cutting the cost of their local or discretionary services, the costs of state programs continue to grow. On top of that, counties have the growing costs of employment benefits such as pensions, workers’ compensation, and health insurance. The result of these opposing forces means counties will have little room to meet the cap in future years.

According to Comptroller DiNapoli, “If inflation continues its downward trend, counties will need to tighten their budgets even more to stay within the tax cap and deliver services that homeowners expect. I believe the financial decisions for county leaders next year will be especially difficult.”

“We appreciate Comptroller DiNapoli’s insightful report and acknowledgement of the challenges counties face,” said NYSAC President Anthony J. Picente, Jr., the Oneida County Executive. “After years of making painful cuts, our communities have very little left to spare. The remainder of county budgets go directly to state mandated programs. Unless the state continues to assume the cost of its programs and services, counties won’t be able to stay within the cap much longer.”

“The fact remains that over the next five years local taxpayers will send $35 billion to Albany for one program alone, Medicaid. Despite the state’s significant efforts to chip away at mandated cost growth, an enormous amount of state imposed costs remain permanently locked into the county property tax base. It’s simply unsustainable,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario.

“We call on the Governor and state lawmakers to reset the costs of state-imposed welfare programs to a 50/50 state/county cost share, as it was prior to the recession. The current situation, in which counties pay 75% of welfare costs, is not appropriate. This should be a matter of state concern,” Acquario said.

For more information, visit http://nysac.org/legislative-action/PropertyTaxCap.php

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The County Impact of State Legislation – Session Overview

Albany Update

2015 Legislative Session Ends
More than a week past the original June 17 deadline, the Senate and Assembly finished the 2015 session in the late hours of Thursday June 25th, acting primarily on S.6012 / A.8323. This bill included major program extensions and reforms on NYC rent regulations, 421-a tax abatement program, the Property Tax Cap, a new property tax relief credit/rebate program, and education reforms.

Items not part of the package include raising the age of criminal responsibility, ethics reform or pension forfeiture, mixed martial arts or a provision to raise minimum wage. Separately, the Assembly took up the final county sales tax extensions bills and other home rule revenue items. See below for a section-by-section breakdown of each of the final negotiated items in the comprehensive end-of-session bill. The Final week of the legislative session culminated Thursday night.

Agreement on Rent Control
The agreement extends the emergency housing rent control law until June 15, 2019.  This includes the State Rent Stabilization Law, City Rent Stabilization Law, City Rent Control Law, and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). The bill language ensures all these provisions are retroactive to June 15, 2015, the date when rent regulation temporarily expired.

Vacancy provisions of the rent control law are amended to ensure that apartments with regulated rents of $2700 or more per month that become vacant after January 1, 2016 have an increase to their maximum legal regulated rent that is the same percentage as the most recent one-year renewal adjustment. The amendments also pertain to the exclusion of high rent accommodations. Beginning January 1, 2016, these thresholds will also increase by the same percentage as the one-year renewal adjustment. In both cases, these adjustments are to be set by the City’s rent guideline’s board.

The changes to rent regulations also decrease the vacancy bonus for preferential rent to 5%, 10%, 15%, or 20%, based on the length of tenancy in the unit rented at a preferential rate. The bill increases the threshold for civil penalties that may be imposed on landlords due to harassment by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Lastly these changes address rent increases for rent-controlled units within buildings that undergo a major capital improvement required for the operation, preservation or maintenance of the structure. The changed law will ensure increased costs are amortized over an eight-year period for buildings with less than 35 units instead of the seven-year period used for buildings with more than 35 units.

Temporary Renewal of 421-a Program
The final package extends section 421-a of the real property tax law for seven months and provides that the program will be extended until June 15, 2019, if representatives of labor and real estate interest groups enter into a fully executed memorandum of understanding regarding wage protections for construction workers performing construction work on projects receiving 421-a benefits.

The bill language also amends section 421-a in order to:

  • increase the number of affordable units being built under the program by providing for multiple affordable development options;
  • mandate the same entry be available for use by all tenants;
  • allow for the New York City Council to pass legislation modifying the Geographic Exclusion Area that defines where affordable units are mandated under this program;
  • mandate wage protections for building service workers at buildings participating in the 421-a program; and
  • increase the commitment to affordability and the length of the tax abatement to 35 years

The J-51 program, which is a property tax exemption and abatement for renovating certain multiple unit residential buildings, is also extended until June 15, 2019. The bill language also opens the window for applications under the 2010 Loft Law expansion for an additional two years and establishes compliance language for loft units that would be included.

Home Rule Extenders and Some Increases Pass
All of the local sales/compensating revenue bills were passed (including increases sought), as were the extensions and increases related to local Hotel/Motel taxes. All of the local mortgage recording tax extenders were passed, but no increases were passed. Extensions to real estate transfer tax rates were also passed. None of the Local Omnibus Sales tax bills passed, nor wireless surcharge increases. One county was also granted authority to impose a local motor vehicle fee of $15 and $30 depending on weight, including a $30 commercial vehicle fee as well.

Property Tax Cap Extension and Adjustments
The current property tax cap is not set to expire until June of 2016, but the tax cap law sunsets if rent control laws for New York City and surrounding communities are not renewed. Since the final package did renew the rent laws it also extended the property tax cap until June of 2020. The rent laws and property tax cap will continue to be linked together with a one year lag in expiration dates.

The bill does allow for two minor adjustments to the property tax cap calculation that are to be implemented administratively by the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance. The Commissioner is directed to develop changes to the tax cap calculation as follows:

  • For BOCES, the tax cap calculation may be adjusted for capital local expenditures “…to reflect a school district’s share of additional budgeted capital expenditures made by a board of cooperative educational services.”
  • To modify the calculation of the “…quantity change factor which may adjust the calculation based on the development on tax exempt land.” This quantity change factor modification would apply to all municipalities.

View NYSAC’s Property Tax research and reports.

STAR Rebate Check Program
The final package also included a 4-year program that generally resurrects the STAR rebate program that was discontinued during the Great Recession, but with a twist related to homeowner eligibility. The new program will provide state sponsored rebate checks to STAR eligible homeowners under the following parameters:

  • The program is in place for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – excludes New York City.
  • Checks will be distributed on or around October 15th of each year.
  • The rebates will be provided on a sliding scale based on income with a cap of $275K of adjusted gross income (income will be determined by state income tax returns for the taxable year two years prior to the actual rebate payment – i.e., 2016 rebate check based on 2014 income tax return.
  • To receive a rebate check the school district and dependent school districts must be tax cap compliant. There is no requirement that other municipalities maintain their tax caps for the rebates to be paid.

The State estimates that about 2.5 million homeowners will benefit from this program at a full annual cost of $1.3 billion by 2019. They estimate the average credit will be $532 by 2019.

In 2016, the credit will be payable in a set amount of $130 for eligible homeowners in the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (excluding NYC) and $185 in the rest of the state. The value of the credit will be phased in beginning in 2017 (based on income).

The chart below summarizes the phase in of the credit and how it might look under varying dollar value assumptions.

¹ These represent NYSAC estimates of average STAR benefits statewide. They will vary by jurisdiction primarily due to property values and tax rates.
² Provides examples of rebate check sizes in jurisdictions with lower or higher than average STAR benefits.
* Metropolitan commuter transportation district (MCTD) – For purposes of rebates this includes Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess — NYC is excluded.

Additional Charters Schools in NYC
This legislation increases the number of charter schools available to be issued in New York City, ensuring that this category of schools can continue to increase access and choice in communities across New York City. This legislation would also enhance flexibility in educator hiring at charters schools, and encourages community building by allowing an optional enrollment preference for children of charter school employees.

Private School Investment/Reimbursements
Non-public schools serve over 400,000 students across the state nearly 15% of the total public school population. The State Education Department (SED) currently reimburses non-public schools for the cost of performing certain State mandated functions. This legislation appropriates $250 million for this purpose of reimbursing private schools for their costs providing State mandated services.

$8.4 million to the State Education Department
This legislation provides $8.4 million in new funding to the State Education Department. In addition, this bill clarifies required components of the state growth model for teacher evaluations; establishes a committee to review the content of all standardized tests; prohibits teacher confidentiality agreements in certain circumstances; and directs the SED Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive review of education standards by June 30, 2016.

One-Year Extension of Mayoral Control
Mayoral control of New York City was first enacted in 2002, and would have expired on June 30, 2015. In 2002 the legislature complied and granted the NYC Mayor control of the New York City Board of Education now the New York City Department of Education. The NYC Education central board consists of 13, but the majority (8) is appointed by the mayor and serve at his pleasure. Local school boards were replaced by community education councils. This legislation renews all provisions of mayoral control for an additional year, to June 30, 2015.

Targeted School District Aid Due to Loss of PILOT Revenues
The bill also includes $19 million to aid school districts negatively impacted by the closure of fossil fuel power plants that severely reduces their local tax revenues as a result.

City of Yonkers School Aid
The bill also provides a one-time $25 million appropriation to the City of Yonkers to help alleviate a significant deficit faced by the city’s school district. In separate legislation, the City is being granted the authority to increase its local sales tax by one-half cent for three years with the contingency that these funds be dedicated to the city’s schools.

Governors’ Authority to Officiate Marriage Ceremonies
Under current law, a mayor of a village,  a county executive of a county, or a mayor, city magistrate,  police justice or police magistrate of a city, a former mayor or the city clerk are allowed to officiate marriage ceremonies in the State of New York.  This legislation amended the domestic relations law to include sitting governors and former governors the authority as well.

City of Rochester Aid
The bill includes $6 million in aid “…for services and expenses of the city of Rochester which may include support for the Rochester/Monroe anti-poverty initiative.”

Federal Update

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) survived its second Supreme Court challenge with today’s ruling. The 6-3 ruling stopped a challenge that would have erased subsidies in at least 34 states for individuals and families buying insurance through the federal government’s online marketplace. With the loss of subsidies, health insurance would have immediately become unaffordable for millions of people and likely led to the destruction of insurance exchanges in most states relying on the federally operated health insurance marketplace.

New York operates its own exchange so a negative ruling would not have had an immediate impact on individuals and families using the state operated exchange. However, some legal and political experts believe the overall implementation of the law would eventually have been compromised by a negative ruling, regardless of the entity operating the state marketplace.

New York State and the counties receive important fiscal benefits from the ACA related to higher federal reimbursements for certain populations covered by Medicaid. The higher federal matching translates to direct fiscal relief for the state and counties and it is expected to reach into the tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.

The combination of the State’s zero growth cap in local Medicaid costs and the enhanced federal funding from the ACA has led to a reduction in annual Medicaid costs in every county and New York City. The favorable Supreme Court ruling will help solidify the continuation of this important fiscal benefit.

There are other challenges the state and counties will need to address related to the federal health care law in the coming years, including how to manage the “Cadillac tax” for high cost health insurance plans, but this ruling should help to preserve the flow of enhanced federal funding to the state.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court, joined by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor and Elana Kagen.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.”

There remain numerous outstanding lawsuits against the ACA, but none rise to the level of this most recent challenge. Although the law will continue in its current form, it does face continuing challenges related to implementation, enrollment and overall cost trends.

Training & Funding Opportunities

Seminar for Local Government Officials
The NYS Comptroller’s Division of Local Government and School Accountability is developing a series of regional seminars for municipal and school district officials. Details for the first event in this on-going series are below. Topics include:

  • What to Expect form an OSC Audit
  • Developing an Effective Fund Balance Policy
  • Financial Condition Analysis
  • Fraud Prevention and Detection

Date: Monday, July 27, 2015

Location: Office of the State Comptroller, 110 State Street, Albany, NY 12236

Registration: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Event: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Click here for agenda and registration.

Cornell Community Development Institute, July 14-15

How do changing social & economic trends affect our families and communities? How can we better link efforts to build family and community capacity? What new ideas are emerging in research, policy, and practice?

If these questions are important to the work of your county, please join us for Cornell’s Community Development Institute, July 14-15, Ithaca NY. The theme this year is Strong Families ↔ Strong Communities. Registration is open now.

This annual institute is designed for a diverse audience including local government and school district leaders, CCE educators, community development practitioners, non-profit and social service agency staff, academic researchers and others interested in the topic. It is hosted by the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), a group of research and outreach professionals working in critical areas of community development for NYS and beyond. For registration, lodging, and agenda details:

http://cardi.cals.cornell.edu/training/cdi/2015-institute

Consolidated Funding Application Workshops – Statewide

The Regional Economic Development Council’s statewide training workshops will provide an overview of the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process and how to access up to $750 million in economic development funding from agency programs through one application. Additionally, there will be informational breakout sessions on specific areas of funding available for economic development projects.

The training workshops are open to local economic development officials, municipalities, non-profits, businesses and members of the public. The workshops will be held in each of the 10 regions through the end of June. For a full list of workshops, times and locations, as well as registration information, visit:

http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/genericcfa/2015-cfa-workshops

Emergency Training for County Chief Executives and County Emergency Managers
The New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will be hosting their Emergency Management Certification and Training (EMC & T) Academy. The Academy will be held on August 17-20 in at the Empire State Concourse in Downtown Albany.

The EMC & T Academy will include one day of training for County Chief Executives (August 17) and a total of three and a half days of training for County Emergency Managers (August 17-20). The Academy is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am on August 17 and conclude at noon on August 20th.

County Chief Executives and County Emergency Managers that have not yet completed this training must do so for their Counties to remain eligible for grant funding administered by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). A wide variety of topics will be covered, including but not limited to: Emergency Management in New York State and the roles of Chief Executives, legal authorities and responsibilities, disaster operations, disaster recovery, etc.

To register please visit by July 17: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2015EMCT

Posted in NYSAC Weekly Wire Week Ending 6/26/15 Session Overview | Leave a comment

Counties in the News, June 26, 2015

NYSAC
U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the Affordable Care Act

STATEWIDE
N.Y. Assembly passes local sales tax extenders

Five ways NY tries to curb the highest property taxes in the nation

State Legislature to meet Thursday in hopes of casting final votes of year

In ‘Big Ugly’ deal, state lawmakers mostly kick the can

HUDSON VALLEY
Yonkers lands another deal: Sales-tax hike

COUNTY FINALIZES PLAYLAND DEAL

CAPITAL
Albany to announce rehab program to reduce low level arrests

NORTH COUNTRY
Legislature names new St. Lawrence County public health director

MOHAWK VALLEY
Griffiss hosts large UAS flight – first of any FAA test site

SOUTHERN TIER
Akshar sworn in as new Undersheriff (Video)

CENTRAL NEW YORK
County Saves $3.8 Million with Shared Services

FINGER LAKES
Legislator Stein miffed that state failed to pass home rule bills

Genesee County Legislature OKs sheriff’s deputy for Byron-Bergen resource post

Seneca County committee votes to protect white deer

WESTERN NEW YORK
County Legislature approves tuition hike of $300 per semester for ECC

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) survived its second Supreme Court challenge with today’s ruling. The 6-3 ruling stopped a challenge that would have erased subsidies in at least 34 states for individuals and families buying insurance through the federal government’s online marketplace. With the loss of subsidies, health insurance would have immediately become unaffordable for millions of people and likely led to the destruction of insurance exchanges in most states relying on the federally operated health insurance marketplace.

New York operates its own exchange so a negative ruling would not have had an immediate impact on individuals and families using the state operated exchange. However, some legal and political experts believe the overall implementation of the law would eventually have been compromised by a negative ruling, regardless of the entity operating the state marketplace.

New York State and the counties do receive important fiscal benefits from the ACA related to higher federal reimbursements for certain populations covered by Medicaid. The higher federal matching translates to direct fiscal relief for the state and counties and it is expected to reach into the tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. The combination of the State’s zero growth cap in local Medicaid costs and the enhanced federal funding from the ACA has led to a reduction in annual Medicaid costs in every county and New York City. The favorable Supreme Court ruling will help solidify the continuation of this important fiscal benefit.

There are other challenges the state and counties will need to address related to the federal health care law in the coming years, including how to manage the “Cadillac tax” for high cost health insurance plans, but this ruling should help to preserve the flow of enhanced federal funding to the state.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court, joined by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor and Elana Kagen.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.”

There remain numerous outstanding lawsuits against the ACA, but none rise to the level of this most recent challenge. Although the law will continue in its current form it does face continuing challenges related to implementation, enrollment and overall cost trends.

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A Statement by NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario on the Rush to Vote on End of Session Legislation

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) expresses caution and urges state leaders not to fast track end of session legislation that was discussed as part of the framework deal announced publicly yesterday.

In a letter to lawmakers today, we urged Assembly Members and Senators to decouple the proposed income circuit breaker and the property tax cap. These are two distinct, stand-alone public policies.

Further, the association believes any last minute legislation should be allowed to age the statutorily required three days on State Lawmakers desks. Only then will state representatives have the needed time to better inform themselves on the issues in the bill, and the public can better understand the potential consequences of those actions.

The proposals announced in a general terms could have long term and unintended consequences for every community, business and individual.

We urge that state lawmakers take the time they need to know what they are voting on.

###

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Counties in the News, June 23, 2015

NYSAC
Upsate Sales Tax Could be Linked to NYC Rent Contol

County Soil & Water Districts Step It Up with Emergency Intervention

STATEWIDE
Counties blast Assembly linkage of sales tax to rent control

Whither The Tax Cap Discussion?

Guest Column: NY No. 1 in shifting costs to local level

New York fast food wage board hears testimony about potential mandate of higher minimum wage

HUDSON VALLEY
Judge Tosses Orange Co. Government Center Suit, Paving Way for New Construction

Dutchess County Legislator to host public forum on Rhinecliff, Rhinebeck road repair

MOHAWK VALLEY
Counties Troubled By Move to Link Upstate Sales Taxes to NYC Rent Control

SOUTHERN TIER
Delaware County to enact “bed tax”

County seeks eminent domain for bridge work

State, local officials give country manager a big send-off

FINGER LAKES
Gsell urges state to renew its extra 1 percent of sales tax

Seneca County supervisors’ committees to meet

WESTERN NEW YORK
Niagara County seniors urged to take needs survey

Dairy of Distinction Awards presented

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A Statement by Hon. Rob Astorino, president of the NYS County Executives Association, on the linking of sales tax measures to rent control

In the latest demonstration of how Albany controls the budgets of county governments across the state, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has introduced an end-of-session bill that ties over 50 county tax measures to rent control. These issues are not related and should not be linked by the State Lawmakers charged with representing the needs and concerns of our residents, businesses and communities.

Counties are forced to pay more than $12 billion annually in local revenue to fund nine state mandates, a requirement that significantly restrict the ability of counties to provide local programs and services.

Counties rely on two forms of revenue: property taxes and sales taxes. The state controls our property taxes through the property tax cap. They control our sales tax revenue, much of which is shared with municipalities and schools, by requiring counties to beg State Lawmakers to pass extenders every two years.

At a time when we should all be working together to make New York State better, stronger and more prepared for the future, this latest move by the New York State Assembly only exacerbates the perception that the State is working against the needs of most New Yorkers and the communities in which they live.

The New York State County Executives Association is an affiliate of the New York State Association of Counties, a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.

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Counties in the News, June 22, 2015

NYSAC
A Statement by NYSAC President Anthony J. Picente, Jr. regarding legislation linking Upstate Sales Taxes to NYC Rent Control

“Re-plumbing” Watershed Drainage Networks: Capturing Rainfall to Buffer the Impacts of Flooding and Drought

STATEWIDE
The road less traveled: Counties should keep more revenue collected at DMV offices

LONG ISLAND
Mangano Announces Outdoor Pools and Beach Openings for the 2015 Summer Season

Nassau sales tax renewal still unresolved in Assembly

NEW YORK CITY
Diverse approaches to NYC rent regulations in Capitol

HUDSON VALLEY
RECAP awarded $50,000 grant through RESTORE program

NORTH COUNTRY
Manhunt quickly shifts back to North Country

MOHAWK VALLEY
Leadership Mohawk Valley awards community leaders

New college president addresses Legislature

SOUTHERN TIER
Tioga County Endorses Property Rights Bill

Recent Report Shows Local Tax Burden Problems

Broome County Legislator Announces His Departure

Preservation group eyes River Road land

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Veterans head from Ithaca to DC to visit memorials

FINGER LAKES
Rail line may mean more road salt

Ontario County board OKs vehicle maintenance contract

WESTERN NEW YORK
ISP negotiating with counties for Orleans rural broadband

Feds bust Buffalo heroin ring serving suburban customers

Erie County IDA’s tax break policy lacks teeth

NTCC: Tourism is boosting the local economy

State lawmakers approve extension of Southtowns Scenic Byway

Wyoming Library hosts events

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A Statement by NYSAC President Anthony J. Picente, Jr. regarding legislation linking Upstate Sales Taxes to NYC Rent Control

Today, we learn that the New York State Assembly has introduced legislation to link the renewal of Long Island and Upstate New York tax extensions to rent control and other NYC specific issues. Since sales tax revenues are shared, this move effects hundreds of municipalities and their residents, none of which have any stake in, or influence over, the current stalemate in the State Capital. Holding upstate communities, who are not involved in these negotiations, hostage to an issue we have no stake in sets a bad precedent and we urge that this be rejected.

We hereby urge all legislators to oppose this measure, decouple these issues, and pass legislation (S5321/A2387) that would block the Legislature from holding county sales tax bills hostage in the future.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.

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Counties in the News, June 19, 2015

NYSAC
“Re-plumbing” Watershed Drainage Networks: Capturing Rainfall to Buffer the Impacts of Flooding and Drought

STATEWIDE
Tax cap won’t fix this: NY bleeds local governments for revenues (Your letters)

HUDSON VALLEY
Temporary flood barriers to be purchased in Rockland

New York Air Show at Stewart to be major event

Ulster County rail corridor panel hashes out role of consultant

CAPITAL
Project to improve quality of waste water discharged into the Hudson River

NORTH COUNTRY
Senate OKs Jefferson County request for sales tax hike; Assembly expected to follow

MOHAWK VALLEY
Picente announces STEM, arts and culture projects (Video)

Certifications are as crucial as skills for Iroquois Job Corps program

SOUTHERN TIER
Legislature OKs Delaware County bed tax

Broome County bids farewell to Emergency Services Director Chellis

CENTRAL NEW YORK
The future of the old Tompkins County Library

FINGER LAKES
Deadline for Ontario County Administrator candidates is July 13

WESTERN NEW YORK
Push for high-speed internet in rural areas (Video)

Federally approved clinic seeks use of Chautauqua Health Dept. office

Chautauqua sheriff announces grants to curb gun violence, enhance border security

County could save over $600,000 leasing vehicles

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