Fulton County highlighting ‘Keep the Cap’

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County officials this week expressed fear a state plan to roll back the Medicaid cap will increase local property taxes.

A news release issued Friday by county government indicated county officials are raising “strong objections” to a new proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to undo the Medicaid cap on local property taxpayers’ share of Medicaid expenses.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Warren Greene and Human Services Committee Chairwoman Marie Born are highlighting a “Keep the Cap” campaign prior to Monday’s board session.

In 2015, Cuomo and state legislators enacted a zero growth Medicaid cap on counties’ local share of Medicaid expenses. The cap helped stabilize property taxes all across the state and was “an effective step to improve the state’s economy and its attractiveness to residents and businesses,” the release said. It was also a necessity to allow local governments to stay below the state-mandated property tax cap created by state lawmakers, the release said.

Cuomo this year released new 2021 state budget proposals that will undo the Medicaid cap and reverse “years of progress in controlling property taxes,” the release said. The governor proposed to increase Medicaid local share costs for counties, if counties do not cut expenses in the state Medicaid Program — a program counties have minimal influence on.

“It doesn’t make sense to do this.” said Born. “Property taxes are already too high in this state and this will make it worse.”

Greene stated: “A promise is a promise. The governor pledged to work with counties on these types of issues after he pushed through the 2 percent property tax cap in 2012. Now, he’s trying to turn back the clock and violate his pledge.”

Finance Committee Chairman Rick Argotsinger commented, “New York continues to lead the nation in loss of population and people are leaving because of high taxes. Fulton County’s local Medicaid cost is about $13.7 million per year. If it starts increasing again, more people will leave.”

The Board of Supervisors on Monday is expected to approve a resolution calling on Cuomo and the state Legislature to preserve the zero percent Medicaid growth cap for all counties and New York City. If Cuomo’s proposal is enacted, it is estimated Fulton County taxpayers might be faced with $1 million in new costs, the release said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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