CHENANGO COUNTY – A new report from The Empire Center is getting the attention of local, state and federal lawmakers who argue that local governments’ mandate to partially fund Medicaid is unnecessarily jacking up New Yorkers’ property taxes.
The Empire Center, an independent non-partisan think tank, says New York shifts more of its Medicaid costs to local government than any other state. Roughly 13 percent of the $8 billion a year program is funded by New York’s 57 counties and New York City, leaving state residents with some of the highest property taxes in the country.
Chenango County alone shoulders nearly $9.8 million per year in Medicaid costs, which accounts for 36.7 of its 2018 tax levy. County officials says it’s by far the most expensive component of the annual budget. In fact, because of the county’s high number Medicaid recipients, the county pays a little over $200 per capita – slightly higher than the average $192 per capita in the Southern Tier.
In counties like Putnam, Saratoga and Tompkins, where there’s proportionately fewer Medicaid recipients, there’s less burden.
“The dilemma is that medical expenses have risen immensely over the years, and it’s put a huge burden on New York counties,” explained Chenango County treasurer William Craine, adding that Chenango County has a proportionally higher population of Medicaid recipients than some other counties. “For most counties, it’s a substantial portion of their tax levy.”