Association of Counties sees positives in state budget with cuts averted

Posted 8 April 2021 at 8:46 am

State invests in essential county services but neglects needed reforms

Press Release, New York State Association of Counties

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) released its initial report on the county impact of the SFY 2022 State Budget. Importantly, the enacted budget includes key investments in essential county services and reverses proposed across-the-board cuts that would have negatively impacted local government’s ability lead the pandemic recovery in their communities.

While the budget makes significant investments in local infrastructure, election administration, public health, and renewable energy, the budget continues the misguided practice of intercepting local sales taxes to fund the state’s obligation for revenue sharing with local governments in the AIM program and a distressed hospital fund.

The budget also fails to enact proposed reforms that would increase efficiency and flexibility in county-administered programs, and help reduce the burden on local taxpayers to pay for state-level programs.

“For the last year, counties have been on the forefront of responding to the greatest challenge to face our country in a generation. This year’s state budget makes key investments in essential services that will help counties continue the essential work of ending the pandemic and supporting residents and businesses as they get back on their feet,” said NYSAC President and Ontario County Chair Jack Marren.

“Sadly, this budget is a missed opportunity to provide counties with much needed relief and increased flexibility in administering state mandated programs enabling taxpayer relief, greater fiscal stability and more effective government. As we seek to extend economic recovery to all New Yorkers, this budget taxes and spends more than residents can afford and leaves too many burdens on local government. We will continue fighting for the people we serve and working with State leaders toward solutions that make sense,” said NYSCEA President and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.

Importantly, the enacted budget reverses a proposed 5% across-the-board cut in aid to localities and makes key investments in local governments and the essential services they provide, including:

  • $100 million in additional CHIPS funding, restoration of $65 million in Extreme Weather funding, an additional $35 million for that program, and an increase of $50 million for PAVE-NY
  • $20 million in additional capital funding and $2 million in additional operating aid for local boards of elections
  • $2.5 million for 18-B Family Court Attorney Representation
  • $7.5 million for Assisted Outpatient Treatment
  • Restoration of VLT Aid ($9.3 million)
  • Restoration of $3.75 million for Jail-Based Substance Abuse Treatment and Additional $5 million in Funding
  • Restoration and Increase to Article 6 Public Health Funding
  • Additional $5.5 million for the Interoperable Communications Capital Projects Fund
  • Inclusion of the expansion of the zero-emissions rebate program for municipalities
  • $385 million for the state and municipal facilities program

“It’s been a long road to undo the economic damage caused by the pandemic, beginning with the historic federal aid package secured by Senator Charles Schumer, and culminating with a state budget that reverses devastating across-the-board cuts and makes significant investments to essential county programs and services,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.

“Counties commend our state partners for working with us to ensure that local governments have the resources they need to continue to lead the recovery from this terrible pandemic and get our economy moving again,” Acquario said. “We missed an opportunity to strengthen Early Intervention services for children with special needs, and we look forward to continuing to work with both the Governor and the State Legislature to advance this proposal and to provide counties with the flexibility we need to reduce the cost of state mandated services and protect local property taxpayers.”