Taxpayers Deserve Relief From Medicaid Savings

For years, county officials from throughout New York state have asked for the state to do more to lessen the cost of Medicaid for counties.

While the state capped the growth of the local Medicaid share at 3 percent annually and assumed responsibility for all increases of non-federal costs above that rate back in 2006, Medicaid is still one of the biggest drivers of county taxes. In fact, a 2017 analysis by the Empire Center for New York State Policy stated Chautauqua County had the eighth-highest per-taxpayer expenditure for Medicaid in New York state. Medicaid spending consumed 12.6 percent of county property taxes in Chautauqua County, with an average cost per taxpayer of $239.75 a year.

The biggest change to the county’s Medicaid burden would have come from the Faso-Collins Amendment to the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act; the legislation would have removed the burden of Medicaid from counties and placed it on the state. While that legislation ultimately stalled out, there is still the possibility of smaller tweaks to the program that could save the county money.

It is with this in mind we note legislation proposed recently in the state Senate by state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, to amend the General Municipal Law to ensure any savings from federal or state action to Medicaid is passed on to local taxpayers as real property tax reductions. We hope the legislation is approved. If Medicaid savings are realized, local taxpayers should see some relief.