Fitzpatrick: Governor Increases County Tax Burden
Executive Budget would shift $83 million in costs onto county governments

Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) today expressed concern with the governor's proposal to shift the cost of a number of programs from the state to local governments. The programs include non-emergency public assistance, two-parent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and youth detention facilities at a cost of $83 million.

"In order to balance the budget in light of an outrageous $6 billion spending increase, the governor proposed a number of puzzling initiatives," said Fitzpatrick. "I am very concerned with the decision to force local governments to finance an additional $83 million in state program costs. With property taxes continuing to rise, Long Island homeowners are pleading for meaningful relief. Instead, the governor has saddled Suffolk County with almost $2 million in additional costs, which will be passed down to homeowners in the form of higher property taxes."

Under the governor's executive budget, the county share of the cost of non-emergency public assistance would increase by 2 percent to 52 percent, despite the state and local governments equally sharing the cost of benefits. In addition, in order to adhere to new federal work participation requirements, the adopted 2006-2007 budget shifted two-parent families receiving TANF public assistance to the Safety Net program, generating $15 million in Federal TANF savings that were split equally between the state and the counties. The governor's plan would allow the state to keep the counties' $7.5 million share of the savings. Lastly, the state would mandate that 100 percent of the costs to detain non-violent youths awaiting trial before family court be paid by local governments.

"With the state facing a $4.5 billion deficit, we need to take a tough, no-nonsense approach to reduce state spending and alleviate the property tax burden that has forced middle-class families and businesses to seek out surrounding states with more tax-friendly, lower cost environments, not place additional strain on local governments," concluded Fitzpatrick.

County Public Assistance Shift Two-Parent Family Shift Detention Cost Shift Total Impact
Suffolk $1,057,102 $269,813 $642,000 $1,968,914