There are a couple of sure-fire ways to lower the crushing property-tax burden in New York. Schools and localities can drastically cut spending, an unlikely and, in some cases, unhealthy scenario.

Or the state could pick up the full tab for big-ticketed items, such as education and Medicaid spending, shifting the part of those bills now picked up by property taxes on the local level.

The state isn’t in a position to do this fully but, over time, it’s imperative to work in this direction.

A recent report by the Empire Center, an Albany-based, fiscally conservative think tank, projects if the state paid for the counties’ share of Medicaid costs, it would provide $8 billion in relief to county governments. That’s an average 27 percent reduction in county taxes, the USA Today Network’s Albany bureau reports.

While this report is new, the issue is not. For decades, counties have tried to get the state to takeover these costs and, in fairness to the state, progress has been made — but not enough of it. Counties once paid about 25 percent of Medicaid costs while the state paid 25 percent and the federal government paid the other half. That percentage has essentially been cut in half for the counties. But New York is still one of but a few states that forces its counties to share any of the costs the program, which accounts for about 37 percent of the property taxes in the Dutchess County budget.

The Medicaid program does tremendously important things. It, in part, provides health care to the poor and elderly and enables those with disabilities to get help in institutional settings or group homes. But no one of sound mind would assert the state’s system is run efficiently. Various reports have cited the program’s bloated bureaucracy and outright abuses to the system, including nursing homes and health officials collecting money, even though they were no longer caring for those patients who were supposed to be benefiting. What’s more, people often hide or reduce their assets to qualify for Medicaid-paid care intended for the needy, a difficult problem for the state to address.

Over the years, advocates for change have suggested everything from placing a spending cap on the program to putting a limit on medical malpractice damages. Surely, the state should put a deep emphasis on preventive care that ultimately helps keep health costs down.

There is simply no denying the facts that the state spends about twice as much per person on this service as any other state and continues to bill the counties for parts of those program.

The state should address its responsibility to hold down costs and, as much as possible, lift this financial burden from the counties.

You may also like

Hospitals, nursing homes face another Medicaid cut during pandemic

Michael Gormley ALBANY — The state told hospitals and nursing homes this week that they will be hit with another cut in Medicaid funding as the health care system reels from costs related to fighting the COVID-19 virus and state revenue plum Read More

Medicaid cuts make the state budget, with some tweaks

Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the conservative-leaning think tank the Empire Center, suggested this is because the proposed cuts are meant to slow the otherwise rapid growth in Medicaid spending, which means an increase is still possible.  Read More

Editorial: Cuomo’s problematic Medicaid maneuvers

“It’s everything that’s wrong with Albany in one ugly deal,” Bill Hammond, a health policy expert at the fiscally conservative Empire Center, told The Times. Read More

NYS Healthcare Costs Rise Amid Report Of Pay-To-Play Allegations

Earlier this year, another fiscal watchdog group,  The Empire Center, found that  Cuomo’s budget office had delayed a $1.7 billion Medicaid payment from the previous fiscal year into the current fiscal year. Because of the delay, the governor was able to keep within a self imposed 2% yearly spending cap. Read More

It’s never simple arithmetic with schools

Earlier this week, the Empire Center did its own report on the plummeting numbers when it comes to students. Overall, the 2019-20 enrollment is at its lowest levels in New York state in the last 30 years. Read More

More New Yorkers covered by health insurance: report

An analysis by Bill Hammond of The Empire Center for Public Policy said the continued drop bolsters the case against the Albany Legislature passing a new law imposing a state government-run health insurance, which Democratic candidates for president are pushing for on a national level. Read More

Cuomo’s claim on property taxes omits mandates

In 2015, the state capped the local Medicaid share, saving local governments more than $3 billion per year. "Even with the freeze, Medicaid remains one of the largest expenses faced by local governments in New York—and one they have little or no means to control," wrote Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, which is fiscally conservative.  Read More

School budgets: Find out how much your property taxes may increase

Schools, excluding the Big 5 districts of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers and New York City, are proposing to increase taxes by $539 million despite an enrollment drop of 7,827 students, or a 0.5% decline, the Empire Center for State Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank said. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!