Faso Plan to Cut Property Taxes Included in American Health Care Act

Reform Saves NYS Homeowners and Businesses $2.2 Billion

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Washington, D.C., March 21, 2017 | comments
Washington, D.C. – Fulfilling his campaign pledge, Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) announced today that the manager’s amendment to the American Health Care Act would include his plan to eliminate New York State’s ability to mandate Medicaid costs for local county property taxpayers. The policy, if enacted, would end Albany’s 51-year-old policy of imposing a significant share of state Medicaid costs on county governments and their property taxpayers. Individual county property taxpayers would save $358.72 annually once the requirement to pay for Medicaid program costs was lifted, the single largest expense for county budgets across the Empire State.  

“High property taxes are crushing Upstate homeowners and businesses. Medicaid costs passed on from Albany are the primary driver of these taxes. This policy, which I’ve described as the single worst mistake from the Rockefeller era, has burdened homeowners and small businesses for decades and helps give New York State the lamentable record of having some of the highest property taxes in the nation and the worst retention rates for people and jobs over the last decade. Enactment of this reform, which is contained in the American Health Care Act, would eliminate over $2.2 billion in county property taxpayer costs on a statewide basis starting in 2020.

 “An average of 42 percent of county property taxes collected in the 19th District are devoted to Medicaid expenses. If signed into law, this amendment will finally force Albany to reform its Medicaid program and save counties a total of $2.2 billion, providing them at last with the freedom to significantly cut property taxes for struggling New Yorkers.

New York State has one of the most expensive Medicaid programs in the country. This is because state government is not required to pay for the full cost of the program, instead raising revenue from county taxpayers to subsidize additional Medicaid spending. Nationally, local governments pay over $9 billion to fund Medicaid expenses; over $7.2 billion of that total is paid by New York City and the 57 county governments in the state. The Faso plan would exclude New York City and its $5 billion Medicaid expense as it relies upon a local income tax to support the Medicaid program. County governments, on the other hand, must largely rely upon property taxes to foot the cost of this state mandate.

Counties in the 19th Congressional District paid over $224,115,923 in property taxes to support the Medicaid program in 2015. A complete list of county Medicaid costs is below.
“Upon examining federal law, I realized that we could fix this problem by amending the federal Medicaid statute to preclude New York State from imposing these costs. Given the disproportionate nature of the local tax burden in New York State, the Faso plan would only affect the Empire State. Albany would have over two years to prepare to assume the county share of Medicaid in order to limit budget disruption to state planners. The status quo has hurt taxpayers and it has forced over a million people to flee New York in the last decade. I’m proud to have devised the first plan to finally end these mandated costs on homeowners and businesses.”

The text of the amendment can be found here.

For further information, check out the resources below:

What Supporters are Saying:
“The State of New York forces an enormous burden onto the backs of its local property taxpayers when it requires counties to pay for a portion of the State’s Medicaid bill.  If the cost of the Medicaid program were lifted off the backs of our property taxpayers we could cut every homeowner and businesses’ county property taxes by 54%,” said Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino.  “While our state leaders have refused to do what the majority of other states do and pay for their own share of the Medicaid bill, this legislative initiative spearheaded by Congressman John Faso would bring about the tax relief our families and businesses desperately need and deserve.”

“I support Congressman Faso’s amendment. Medicaid costs are the number one unfunded mandate we receive from the state and it eats up about 40 cents of every property tax dollar we collect here in Westchester,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “Few states share the Medicaid bill with its counties and no state shares as much of it as New York does and yet counties have zero say over the delivery of the program.  If Congressman Faso's amendment is enacted into law, it would not only allow for dramatic property tax relief for homeowners, it would force Albany to finally reform the most expensive and fraud-ridden Medicaid program in the nation."

“Congressman Faso’s amendment to repeal the Medicaid mandate will greatly benefit homeowners and local businesses by cutting their property taxes,” said Delaware County Board of Supervisors Chair Tina Mole. “For too long, Albany has pushed an unfair share of Medicaid costs onto counties. I am grateful to Congressman Faso for keeping his pledge to the 19th District’s taxpayers, and I believe that this amendment will finally force Albany politicians to be held accountable for their extravagant spending habits.”

“Congressman Faso is on the right track, by eliminating counties paying for Medicaid it will help counties reduce property taxes, thereby benefiting homeowners and businesses,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matthew Murell. “Congressman Faso's proposed action would force NYS to end a very expensive unfunded mandate imposed on county governments.”

“I want to Thank Congressman Faso for standing up for Counties across New York State,” said Ulster County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk Jr. “Congressman Faso has a long history of fighting unfunded mandates even back his time as Minority Leader of the Assembly. In Ulster County Medicaid accounts for roughly half of the County property tax levy. At a time when many politicians in Washington ignore property taxpayers and pass the buck, we are lucky to have Congressman Faso fighting for us"
“Thanks to the leadership of Congressman John Faso, taxpayers across upstate New York may finally see significant relief from the oppressive burden of high property taxes.  For many years, Albany has been shifting the costs of running state programs down onto the shoulders of local governments.  And the hard-working men and women of upstate New York end up paying much higher property taxes to support those programs” said Schoharie County Treasurer William Cherry.  “Property taxes in New York State are much too high – period.  Those highest-in-the-nation property taxes make us unable to compete with other states when it comes to attracting new businesses, creating new jobs, and they are the reason there are more and more people fleeing New York every year.  Congressman Faso’s amendment shows true visionary leadership in trying to stem this downward spiral, and will mean that Albany will finally be forced to pay their share of Medicaid costs out of their own budget, rather than shifting those costs down to local property taxpayers” continued Cherry.  

“I stand strong behind Congressman Faso and his proposed amendment to lessen the burden on our property taxpayers,” said Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort. "This amendment strikes at the core structural problem that has driven up property taxes in upstate New York for years. Its passage would result in significant savings to Montgomery County taxpayers struggling with the burden of some of the highest property taxes in the country.”

“New York forces more state spending onto local property taxpayers than any state in America. Counties in this state spend three times more on Medicaid than all other counties in America combined," said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro. "This shift of cost crowds out critical local priorities and is the reason property taxes are too high.  John Faso has been leading this fight for over 20 years, and now, 75 days in office has produced a solution. His amendment would save us over $40 million a year enabling massive property tax cuts.”
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