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Counties call for flexibility, end to diversion of local sales tax in 2021 legislative agenda

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Mon, Jan 11th 2021 05:00 pm

Read the NYSAC legislative program and committee policy briefs here.

The New York State Association of Counties recently announced its priorities for the 2021 state legislative session and unveiled a wide range of policy proposals to improve county service delivery, increase efficiency, reduce program costs, and place counties on a sound fiscal footing as they continue to lead the local recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year will go down in history as one of the most challenging years ever faced by local government,” NYSAC President and Ontario County Chair Jack Marren said. “The work done by counties to lead a pandemic response while the bottom fell out of the economy is nothing short of heroic. As we enter a new year and a new phase of the pandemic, counties look forward to working with our state partners to reimagine local service delivery and provide mandate relief that enables counties to serve our residents and support the economic recovery of our communities.”

NYSCEA President and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said, “Local governments are at a turning point as we enter this new, and hopefully final phase of the pandemic. Counties had to make tough choices to balance their budgets as pandemic response costs mounted, tax revenues dried up and the federal government failed to step in with needed relief. Counties are more than up to the challenges to come, provided the state grants us the flexibility to innovate and reimagine how we deliver services as well as ending the practice of intercepting local sales tax revenues.”

Key components of counties legislative agenda included the creation of a blue-ribbon commission to redesign local service delivery, increased flexibility to reduce program costs and an end to the diversion of county sales tax for state programs and purposes.

“Local governments have been doing more with less than anyone ever thought possible, leading the local response to the pandemic, while suffering major losses in sales tax revenue and cuts to state reimbursements,” NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said. “In the coming year, it will be critical for the state to work with us on ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency so we can provide the services that our residents rely on while also avoiding tax increases that families simply can’t afford during these tough economic times.”

A press release said, “As the level of government that delivers the health, human service and public safety services that New Yorkers most need during this pandemic, counties require attention from a broad range of legislative committees.”

To assist with these educational and advocacy efforts, NYSAC has broken out its 2021 legislative agenda by legislative committee with key priorities and additional background information.

·Children and families

·Crime victims, codes and corrections

·Environmental conservation

·Finance, ways and means

·Health, mental health and substance abuse

·Higher education

·Social services

·Transportation and local government

NYSAC advocates at the local, state and federal levels on myriad issues impacting counties and county taxpayers across New York. To learn more about NYSAC’s advocacy efforts, visit www.nysac.org/advocacy.

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