St. Lawrence County legislators continue call on state lawmakers to quit spending locally raised property taxes on state programs
CANTON – St. Lawrence County legislators are continuing their call to the state to relieve property taxes by assuming the costs for state programs paid for by the county.
At a finance committee meeting Monday, legislators called out state lawmakers for offering tax breaks to special interest groups and state income taxes that will exceed $7 billion on an annual basis, without providing any relief to property taxes paid by homeowners and small businesses.“St. Lawrence County elected leaders have strongly advocated in support of ways to lower the property tax burden for homeowners and businesses, such as the on-going push for the state to assume its legal responsibility for the cost of indigent defense and advocating for the State to assume the costs of the largest state mandate, Medicaid, which has grown in cost from $100 million when initially enacted over 50 years ago to over $7 billion today,” the resolution says. “Since enactment over 50 years ago, the state has required county taxpayers to finance with local tax dollars dozens of state programs that, for the most part, counties in other states are not required to finance.”
According to the resolution the state mandates on counties require more than $12 billion annually in locally raised taxes to be sent to the state capitol to be used by the state in lieu of state raised taxes to pay for state programs and initiatives.
Legislators say slowing down rate of property tax growth, or reducing property taxes, is one of the best ways to improve the economic climate and competitiveness.
Legislators say Cornell University researchers have documented in numerous reports how New York's practice of shifting fiscal responsibilities from the state to lower levels of government, including counties, creates severe imbalances between New York and other states in relation to property taxes.
“Therefore be it resolved that the board the Board of Legislators urges state legislative leaders to focus their property tax relief efforts on fiscal reforms that will lead to permanent property tax reduction by assuming the cost of State programs currently paid for by counties.”