In the eyes of the Genesee County manager, it seems like the more New York State gets, the more New York State wants.
Matt Landers said today he is supporting the New York Association of Counties in its attempt to reverse a recently enacted local sales tax diversion act that removes more than $ 59 million annually from communities across the state, according to NYSAC.
“I fully agree that NYSAC is putting an end to this diversion, especially given that the state has received funding through the federal incentive to support nursing homes,” Landers said. “There’s really no need to divert the county sales tax to help needy hospitals and nursing homes.”
Earlier this month, Congress passed the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout plan and allocated $ 23.8 billion to New York, more than half of which went directly to the state government.
Landers stressed that sales tax is an important source of income for more than half of the NYS counties and also for cities, villages and school districts that have sales tax-sharing agreements with their counties.
In 2019, local governments shared $ 2 billion in local sales tax revenue, NYSAC reported.
The district chief said some municipalities have reduced or canceled their state aid and incentives to fund the municipalities – with the sales tax diversion covering their AIM – and some will receive their full AIM.
“The governor’s proposal was for the AIM to be covered by the sales tax diversion, but the Senate and the Assembly have different versions of it. Until we see a final bill, I’m not sure how this will ultimately play out, ”he noted. “But the sales tax diversion and the AIM situation are just two other examples of the state collecting the county sales tax for other purposes.”
NYSAC President Jack Marren said that more than ever, local governments need their full share of sales tax and state aid and incentives for local governments.
“Strong local governments make a stronger state, and as New York recovers from the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is imperative that those of us who have been on the front lines of responding to the crisis are given the resources and the flexibility we need for a full recovery, ”he said.
In a similar development, Landers said he was against the proposed formula for distributing the 13 percent sales or excise tax associated with legalizing cannabis.
“The state plans to keep 9 percent of that 13 percent, and they distribute the 4 percent to the municipalities. The problem is that instead of enforcing it as sales tax and having sales tax sharing agreements split the money appropriately, they are delivering 3 percent direct to towns, villages and towns and only 1 percent to counties, ”he said.
Landers said it went against common sense.
“Just think about it? Which communities are hardest hit by marijuana legalization? ” he said. “When looking at the services that are being provided, you should turn to the criminal justice and recruitment agencies that the county operates – whether it’s the public defender’s office or the DA office, the sheriff, the prison, the psychiatric department or the health department. What services does the typical Genesee County city have that would be affected by cannabis legalization versus a county? “
Landers mentioned that he understands that some cities are planning to use proceeds from marijuana legalization to pay for programs unrelated to what is likely to result from increased use of pots.
“The money should be to finance the unintended consequences of legalizing marijuana. There will be public health and other impacts – just like the VLT (Video Lottery Terminal) money given to communities that gamble in their areas, ”he said. “That doesn’t mean you create a new, unrelated program and put the money there. It should be used to offset the societal costs you will face as a result of this activity. “
He said that some cities have their “wish lists” of the things they want to do and now they have a new source of income to do it.
“In Genesee County, we would take this money and apply it to whatever impact it had on our budget as a result of legalization. Unfortunately, I think it’s pretty much a done deal and we have to accept the reality. “