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Collins, Cuomo spar over health legislation’s impact in NY

Staff Reports Posted 25 June 2017 at 7:58 am

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) says the Republican healthcare plan would result in biggest tax cut in Western New York history.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the legislation will pull $2.3 billion in federal funding from the state, hurting healthcare providers and vulnerable New Yorkers.

Collins issued this press release on Saturday:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) hailed the inclusion of his amendment to the House passed American Health Care Act into the Senate version of the bill.

The amendment, introduced with Congressman John Faso (NY-19), would require New York State to take over the county portion of Medicaid by 2020 and would provide the largest property tax reduction ever to Western New York.

“This was a long fought battle against the injustice in Albany and is a big victory for taxpayers,” said Congressman Collins.

Federal law now permits states to share some of their costs with local governments, but New York is the only state that has imposed this level of burden on property taxpayers. Counties currently have no say in how local revenues are spent on Medicaid; they’re simply required to foot part of Albany’s bill. Local state leaders agreed that the inclusion of the amendment is important and welcome news for Western New York residents.

“Mandate relief has been talked about in Albany for as long as anyone can remember – it certainly wasn’t new when I was talking about it as mayor. It’s not a headline-grabbing or attractive issue, so meaningful proposals on mandate relief are generally swept aside. But I can tell you that it’s real. It’s real for the local governments who deal with tight budgets and it’s real for taxpayers who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. I applaud Congressman Collins for bringing this issue to the forefront. Ideally, this would have been a serious discussion at the state level, but having failed that, I’m pleased that we could possibly address the crippling burden placed on our local governments as part of larger, federal health care discussions,” said State Senator Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda).

“As a long-time supporter of curbing the costs of Medicaid, which would take a heavy burden off of local governments, I am proud to support Congressman Collins’ amendment. The impact on my assembly district and local taxpayers will be tremendous with estimated tax reductions of 49 percent in Orleans County and 35 percent in Genesee County. It is clear that New York’s outrageous Medicaid spending is one of the driving forces behind property and school tax increases and it is time for government to take that burden off our residents’ backs,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia).

“I’m pleased that the Senate has included Rep. Collins’s amendment in the healthcare reform bill. This promises real relief for property tax payers in communities like Niagara County, and holds state government accountable to fund their mandates instead of passing on costs to the local level. Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible, but it shouldn’t fall to just homeowners to fund the system,” said Niagara County Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall.

“Congressman Collins’ Medicaid proposal will provide historic ‘real’ property tax relief for hardworking local taxpayers. Currently over 30 perfect of the Ontario County property tax levy currently goes towards paying for New York’s unfunded Medicaid mandate. I look forward to working with Rep. Collins and the members of the Board of Supervisors as we continue our efforts to reduce the burden on hardworking taxpayers in our community,” said Jack Marren, Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.

“We as a board supported a resolution in support of this measure because protecting property taxpayers is one of our prime concerns. This legislation will reduce an unfunded state mandate and help us deliver real tax relief to local homeowners,” said Eric Gott, Chairman, Livingston County Board of Supervisors.

“We appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to relieve the counties of this extraordinary unfunded mandate. This will be a tremendous relief to local county property taxpayers and will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and other county services,” said Raymond Cianfrini, Chairman, Genesee County Legislature.

“For years counties in New York have decried the use of property taxes to fund New York State’s expansive Medicaid program.  We are optimistic that changes at the federal level can result in real, substantive, positive changes to the bottom line for county property tax payers,” said David B. Callard, Chairman, Orleans County Legislature.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on their version of the Obamacare repeal bill.

Cuomo: Faso-Collins bill ‘reckless and dangerous political maneuver’

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday released the following statement on the health care bill and the Faso-Collins amendment being considered in the US Senate:

“This year, some members of New York’s own Congressional delegation have voted to cut $2.3 billion in federal funding to New York State and New York State alone. I have never seen representatives in Washington fighting to take funding away from their home state, but that’s exactly what Faso, Collins and their colleagues have done. This shocking action from officials elected to help their constituents comes at a high price for New Yorkers: every resident of this state will be forced to pay the ‘Faso-Collins Federal Tax’ to make up the difference.

“In a reckless and dangerous political maneuver, Chris Collins, John Faso and certain partners in the New York delegation have betrayed their constituents by attempting to burden them with a piece of health care legislation that will amount to a 10 percent tax increase to their property taxes to make up for cuts from the federal government. New York is already a ‘donor state’ that contributes $48 billion more in taxes to the federal government than it receives in federal spending. At a time when middle class families are already struggling to make ends meet, Faso, Collins and other members of the delegation who supported this reckless amendment will have to answer to the people of this state for it.

“Over the last seven years, I have made capping and cutting property taxes a main priority, passing the first-ever 2 percent property tax cap, and legislation forcing local governments to propose shared-services plans to lower local property taxes, but Faso and Collins are seeking to reverse that. This is nothing more than a political gimmick dressed up as property tax relief and every New Yorker should call their representative to stop this reprehensible legislation from passing.”

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