March 30, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Endorses 'Empire State Equity Act' to Reduce New Yorkers' Property Taxes By Increasing Federal Medicaid Support

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Governor Cuomo Pledges to Cover Medicaid Spending For Any County Willing to Contribute 100% of Savings to Property Tax Relief

 

 

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today endorsed the "Empire State Equity Act," federal legislation that would deliver property tax relief to New Yorkers by increasing federal funding for New York's Medicaid program. New York is a "donor state" that contributes as much as $30 billion more to the federal budget in taxes than it receives back in services.
 
This bill will help level the playing field and provide New York with an additional $2.3 billion in Medicaid funds, which the state will use to eliminate the local share of Medicaid for any county that agrees to lower local property taxes by an equal amount, thereby passing 100 percent of their savings to their taxpayers.

"While some members of Congress are content to play political games at the expense of their constituents, I'm proud to join members of the New York Congressional Delegation in support of this legislation, which provides much-needed property tax relief while protecting New York's healthcare system," Governor Cuomo said. "This measure doesn’t rob Peter to pay Paul, it provides real savings for New Yorkers. This state pays much more to the federal government than it gets in return, and I urge Congress to do the right thing by passing this bill and helping to level the playing field between New York and the rest of the nation once and for all."

Currently, New York is the top "donor state" in the country with residents contributing as much as $30 billion more in federal taxes than they get back from the federal government. That means New Yorkers essentially donate a portion of their federal taxes to other states. In addition, because of the way federal Medicaid funds are calculated, New York receives the lowest matching percentage through the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage that is allowed by law. New York's FMAP is set at 50 percent, whereas states like Mississippi receive over 75 percent in federal contributions to Medicaid.

The bill proposes to increase New York’s FMAP by 4 percent, or $2.3 billion. This increase in federal funds will allow New York to reduce the amount counties may be required to contribute toward the Medicaid program.

The "Empire State Equity Act" would build on the significant progress Governor Cuomo has made to ease the burden of property taxes for New Yorkers. In 2011, he convened the Medicaid Redesign Team to find reforms and efficiencies within the system to save billions in taxpayer dollars. Since its inception, the team has saved the state and federal government more than $34 billion. At the same time, the county share of Medicaid has fallen from about 25 percent to approximately 13 percent today because of Governor Cuomo’s successful mandate relief initiatives.  

 

County

Capped County Share of Medicaid
($ in Millions)

Local Medicaid as % of Total Property Taxes

Average Total Residential Property Tax Bill

Estimated Average Savings

Albany

65.2

9%

$4,606

$405

Allegany

10.2

11%

$2,561

$281

Broome

39.6

10%

$3,229

$319

Cattaraugus

17.4

12%

$2,620

$305

Cayuga

14.7

10%

$3,182

$322

Chautauqua

32.3

14%

$2,664

$361

Chemung

20.7

15%

$2,815

$408

Chenango

10.2

12%

$2,441

$283

Clinton

17.9

12%

$2,813

$344

Columbia

11.4

6%

$4,516

$288

Cortland

10.4

11%

$3,587

$393

Delaware

8.9

7%

$2,718

$180

Dutchess

43.8

5%

$5,881

$289

Erie

215.8

13%

$3,616

$474

Essex

6.9

6%

$2,889

$161

Franklin

10.3

12%

$2,453

$299

Fulton

14.2

14%

$2,747

$391

Genesee

9.9

9%

$2,954

$277

Greene

10.1

8%

$3,265

$245

Hamilton

0.7

1%

$2,437

$36

Herkimer

14.0

12%

$2,576

$302

Jefferson

20.6

13%

$2,561

$330

Lewis

5.2

10%

$2,312

$235

Livingston

9.5

8%

$3,389

$262

Madison

11.5

8%

$3,523

$292

Monroe

184.8

11%

$4,671

$528

Montgomery

12.3

16%

$3,122

$486

Nassau

240.8

4%

$10,274

$363

Niagara

46.9

12%

$3,294

$401

Oneida

57.3

15%

$3,021

$461

Onondaga

105.6

11%

$4,238

$465

Ontario

16.7

7%

$3,822

$261

Orange

73.8

6%

$6,665

$433

Orleans

8.5

13%

$2,999

$376

Oswego

25.6

10%

$2,768

$266

Otsego

10.8

10%

$2,696

$276

Putnam

9.9

2%

$8,788

$196

Rensselaer

34.8

10%

$4,478

$469

Rockland

68.5

5%

$9,844

$518

St. Lawrence

24.5

13%

$7,623

$973

Saratoga

25.4

5%

$8,439

$427

Schenectady

35.0

10%

$2,758

$269

Schoharie

5.9

8%

$851

$65

Schuyler

3.9

10%

$1,699

$170

Seneca

6.2

10%

$4,994

$484

Steuben

20.1

11%

$2,797

$295

Suffolk

256.1

4%

$8,574

$357

Sullivan

20.9

7%

$4,300

$321

Tioga

8.4

9%

$2,962

$280

Tompkins

12.3

5%

$4,753

$260

Ulster

37.4

7%

$5,246

$347

Warren

12.6

7%

$3,295

$226

Washington

11.6

9%

$3,385

$313

Wayne

14.5

8%

$3,457

$283

Westchester

223.0

5%

$11,001

$529

Wyoming

5.6

8%

$2,834

$213

Yates

4.4

8%

$3,275

$249

Congressman Eliot Engel said, "We dodged a bullet last week when the abysmal Trumpcare bill failed in the House, but that does not mean the threat posed to state funding for Medicaid has been quelled. Congressional Republicans continue to push an irresponsible proposal that would leave a huge hole in New York’s budget, under the guise of providing financial ‘relief’ to New Yorkers. This is why it is so important for us to introduce the Empire State Equity Act. Our bill would ensure that New York would receive an additional $2.3 billion in Medicaid funding, thus ensuring New Yorkers would not have to feel the pinch of severe Medicaid funding cuts because of a misguided GOP agenda. Medicaid is a lifeline for the people of New York – as their Representatives, we’re going to make sure they aren’t harmed. I applaud Governor Cuomo for working with my colleagues and me to protect all New Yorkers."

Representative Paul Tonko said, "New York’s Capital Region is home to many seniors. They depend on Medicaid to help them cover the cost of their long-term care and nursing home support. Unfortunately, New York has a long history of being overlooked and under-served when it comes to federal Medicaid funding. Bringing a fairer share of our federal tax money back home to New York will help our counties and our taxpayers. This legislation restores equity to that budget equation."

Representative Joe Crowley said, "I am proud that the Empire State Equity Act will provide vital tax relief while actually strengthening New York’s Medicaid program. Unlike previous proposals that claimed to reduce property taxes but would have in reality forced New York to either cut needed services or raise taxes, this bill is a good deal for New York taxpayers and our health care system. It’s a win-win – ensuring fairer Medicaid payments for New York and bringing more federal dollars back to our state, while helping to lower property taxes in communities throughout the state."

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, "Ask any of my neighbors in the Hudson Valley and they will tell you they are bogged down by high property taxes, which is why this legislation is so important – it will put hundreds of dollars back into the pockets of hardworking families in the Hudson Valley by reducing our burdensome property taxes without hurting the Medicaid program. Thanks to Governor Cuomo for supporting this critical legislation so that New York receives the federal Medicaid support it deserves while providing relief to millions of New Yorkers and thousands of my neighbors."

Congresswoman Grace Meng said, “New Yorkers have long paid more to the federal government than they get back in spending. The Empire State Equity Act addresses this injustice, with clear and tangible implications for New Yorkers. I am pleased to support this bill.”

Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, "The Empire State Equity Act ensures more coverage of recipients who receive Medicaid. I commend Governor Cuomo on today’s announcement putting New York residents first and foremost in our efforts to ensure equity in health coverage and savings for communities who need it the most."

Representative Tom Suozzi said, “I am happy to join my colleagues in this effort to try and relieve the property tax burden our residents face. Only by collaborating with Governor Cuomo and state officials will we be able to respond to this decades-long injustice.”

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