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Shipley takes aim at Albany as state budget grows again

It was a busy night for the Board of Supervisors in Seneca County on Tuesday.

Board Chairman Bob Shipley (R-Waterloo) used the session as an opportunity to blast Albany for an increase in spending of more than 4% over 2018.

“Governor Cuomo continues to claim Albany holds themselves to the 2% property tax cap which they also passed into State Law,” explained Shipley. “Regardless of the fuzzy math Albany accountants must be using, an increase of $7.3 Billion dollars by my calculator, is an increase of 4.3%.”

The $175.5 billion budget ballooned over 2018’s, which was $168.2 billion.

Shipley expressed concern over the fact that the updated Medicaid payments required by the state, to the state, have not been identified or released. “Seneca County has to send a weekly Medicaid payment of $111,679.00 to Albany,” he said. “That was in 2018, and they have not told us what our new 2019 weekly payment will be.

Seneca County made that $111,679 payment to New York State throughout 2018. It accounted for 60% of the County’s budget. “To put this in perspective, Medicaid all by itself will consume nearly 60% of the entire revenue Seneca County has to levy for property taxes,” Shipley continued. “Just to pay for that one mandated program. It defies logic why New York State leaders choose to run a program costing more than the programs of Texas and Florida combined.”

Both states have populations that are more than twice that of New York.

Shipley said that the Supervisors could make better use of those funds, if allowed to reinvest them in Seneca County to bolster infrastructure, and correct longstanding water and sewer issues. “We could probably eliminate a lot of bickering over sewer and water by investing in South Seneca, putting pipe in the ground and fixing all sewer and water infrastructure using the almost $6 million.”

Shipley also condemned the possibility of imposing a local County tax on plastic bags, after the state moved to ban them.

And while money has been promised to help with early-voting, Shipley said he has questions about that reality.

“As you can see there are many challenges facing our local government. Given the significant financial ramifications of state budget laws – it is critically important that we continue to work together to find additional efficiencies on behalf of our taxpayers,” Shipley concluded.