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Counties say fiscal cliff is coming closer

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -– They’ve been warning about it year after year, but serious deficits are going to start to hit counties across the state next year, the New York State Association of Counties said this morning.

The group said that rising costs of state-imposed mandated programs that counties must provide -– from welfare and Medicaid-related programs to probation and special education services -– along with the state’s new 2 percent property tax cap that will limit local revenue options are providing a new fiscal double-whammy that will begin to hit hard next year.

The group said the cost for counties to pay for just nine of the state-mandated programs will grow by $244 million next year. In the meantime, with the 2 percent property tax cap limitations, expected levy growth for all counties will grow by $114 million.

The group said that $130 million gap does not include such inflationary growth for things like heating and cooling government buildings, or worker salaries and health care benefits.

“We haven’t seen this type of fiscal shortfall in our lifetimes,’’ said Orange County Executive Edward Diana,  president of the association, in a written statement this morning.

The group is asking the Cuomo administration and lawmakers to get serious about helping counties reduce expenses by, after years of talks at the Capitol, adopting laws to reduce the number of state-imposed mandates on localities.

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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