Stop using property taxes for Medicaid, says West Stockholm man
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 6:42 am

Letter to Editor,

Land Taxes Too High?

Thanks to the St. Lawrence County Legislators for sending a strong message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The legislators passed a resolution for property tax relief calling for “lowering and eventually eliminating the local contribution (through land taxes) counties provide to support the State’s Medicaid Program.” (North Country This Week issues Mar. 5-11 and Mar. 12-18)

Join them and get some real property tax relief by calling the Governor at 518-474-1707 and NY Senator Griffo 518-455-3334.

New York needs to stop using property taxes to help pay for Medicaid. $24.5 million out of $45.5 million of local land tax dollars go to support the local Medicaid effort. Through the county property tax levy in 2014 St. Lawrence County raised $24.5, that’s 47.5% or about 1/2 of the State’s portion (NYS Association of Counties, NYSAC).

In 2012, local taxpayers will fund $7.5 billion of the State’s Medicaid program—a far cry from the $112 million in local funds provided in 1966 (NYSAC , 2011).

In December 2011, the Governor’s own Medicaid Redesign Team issued a final report to the Governor. One of the recommendations states: “The State should develop and implement a plan for more sustainable Medicaid financing that phases out reliance on local taxes (NYSAC , 2012).

State leaders must take responsibility for their part of the property tax problem by reforming State programs funded through increased property taxes.

We need to raise the money fairly through the state income tax. Low/fixed income and elderly homeowners are in need of real tax relief due to already escalating county taxes and school taxes.

Huge increases in pension and medical insurance costs are always on the way for both county and school taxes, so let’s make room and get Medicaid costs off the local tax rolls. Homelessness, financial crisis and family distress as a result of foreclosures have enormous social and municipal costs.

Please get involved.

Richard Paolillo

West Stockholm