2 proposals in Governor’s budget would be $1.2 million tax hit to Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 February 2023 at 8:46 am

ALBION – Two proposals in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget could result in a big tax hit for Orleans County.

Hochul has proposed increasing the hourly rate for assigned counsel from $75 to $119 an hour.  This would cost the county approximately $200,000 per year, said Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer.

The increase in rates for lawyers in assigned counsel would cost counties and New York City about $150 million more annually, according to an analysis by the New York State Association of Counties.

A bigger impact on county taxpayers would be a proposal for the state to keep federal funding for the Medicaid program that currently is shared with counties and New York City to pay towards Medicaid.

The executive budget would end the Affordable Care Act enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (eFMAP) federal pass-through to counties and New York City. That would zap $1,059,034 per year in revenue to the county budget, or 5.6 percent of the county’s tax levy.

“This ends twenty years of the state sharing the eFMAP funding with counties,” Welch said. “This would be devastating to our taxpayers. Interested persons should contact the Governor’s Office expressing their opinion on this proposed change in the funding of Medicaid for our residents.”

NYSAC has analyzed the governor’s proposals and said eliminating the ACA eFMAP federal pass-thru will require the 57 counties to spend at least $280 million more annually, and about $1 billion more when New York City is included.