State Needs to Fix Budget Problems Without Creating Fiscal Disasters on County Level, Says Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin
With the state budget set to be unveiled today, County Executive Steve McLaughlin says New York State should not burden counties with new costs and mandates to fix a $6 billion state deficit.
McLaughlin said such tactics would only spread the problem and jeopardize taxpayers, job creation and needed services on the county level.
“New York needs to fix the deficit on the state level, and make the tough, necessary and common-sense fixes to get state finances on the right track,” said McLaughlin.
“Rensselaer County has had real success over the past two year, reducing taxes in 2019 and 2020, and earning unanimous support for budget passage,” he added.
The county has been under the state tax cap each of the past nine years since the cap was implemented. McLaughlin noted the county has earned a bond rating upgrade, the first in ten years, and other strong fiscal reviews. Those reviews came after significant savings by the county in key areas.
“The financial analysts have noted our county is working hard to carefully reduce costs while protecting needed services. Placing even more state mandates on counties who have no control over how the mandates are spent is the wrong answer,” said McLaughlin.
With the state facing shortfalls for Medicaid, McLaughlin also invited the state to adopt a tele-medicine program now in use in the county. McLaughlin kicked off the ER-Anywhere program with partners CDPHP and United Concierge Medicine in 2019.
McLaughlin repeated his call for the state to allow counties to have greater control over the optional area of state mandates to allow for cost reductions. New York is the only state to require counties to pay for mandated services and optional mandated services.