Mandate relief is what county needs to stay solvent
Friday, June 17, 2011 - 3:51 pm

To the Editor:

The shifting of costs on to counties from the state has become a real burden.

Today mandates from the state equal 92.8% of the amount collected by St.Lawrence County from its taxpayers.

Most of these state mandates are partially funded or come without any funding at all.

It is unclear exactly how long it will be until our county budget is entirely consumed by state programs.

Examining the choices made in the last budget from the state, it is clear that it will be sooner than later.

It won't be too long before St. Lawrence County becomes insolvent due to the weight of additional cost shifts from state government.

For instance, why should local property taxpayers be responsible for the Medicaid program?

Medicaid is a state and federal program. The state needs to pay for the non-federal portion of Medicaid.

If the state has ordered the nation’s largest Medicaid program off the menu shouldn’t they be made to pay the bill for it?

At present 55 cents of every dollar collected by the county goes to Medicaid.

The state must reimburse St. Lawrence County appropriately for the costs associated with their programs.

If Albany took that path it is likely my colleagues would be happy to institute not just a tax cap, but tax cuts, BIG tax cuts, to property owners.

Mandate relief will make a tax cap irrelevant.

If a tax cap without mandate relief is imposed then many of our roads and bridges will be forced to close for safety reasons.

We simply won’t have the money to pay for infrastructure because the cost shifts from the state will be forcing us to pay for state mandates only.

As we prepare a 2012 budget plan, drastic cuts will be made to numerous non-mandated programs.

In the 2013 budget there may not be many non-mandated programs left to cut.

The current path is unsustainable.

SLC Legislator Jon Putney

Watertown, District 15