Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Friday, June 16, 2006

Tedisco Disappointed by Counties' Lack of Support for Gas Tax Cap
Calls for mandate relief, Medicaid reform to help improve counties' fiscal flexibility

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) today said he was disappointed that a large majority of counties across the state decided not to cap the local sales tax on a gallon of gasoline at $2.00. The law capping the state sales tax took effect on June 1st saving motorists approximately $.04 per gallon and ending the windfall the state was receiving at the expense of taxpayers. The sales tax is one of seven taxes on a gallon of gasoline, but the only one that increases with the price of gas.

Today, Friday, June 16, is the deadline for counties to pass the local cap and so far only 14 of the state's 62 counties have done so. The two counties Tedisco represents in the State Assembly - Schenectady and Saratoga - both elected to pass the cap.

"Every county should have capped the local sales tax on gasoline. What I heard often was 'We can't afford to do it,' but whose money is this anyway?" said Tedisco. "With that being said, the state shares some of the blame because it has saddled the counties with unfunded mandates, a broken Medicaid system, and it has been a poor role model for spending restraint."

Tedisco called on the State Legislature to pass A.9521 next week, a bill requiring the state to pay the full cost of any state mandate imposed on a municipality that costs more than $10,000 a year.

Some examples of unfunded mandates in New York are:

  • Best Value vs. Lowest Bid: 49 states allow localities to purchase goods and services based on "best value". Best value can be more cost effective if you are getting a more durable product. In New York, localities are required to purchase based solely on lowest bid, without considering value.

  • Jail Construction: The State Commission of Corrections mandates specific requirements for county jail construction throughout the state. These mandates drive up county jail construction costs.

  • Health Insurance: New York mandated benefit and provider laws place increased costs on insurers, requiring benefits to be added to basic health insurance coverage, the cost of which is passed on to the consumer.

  • Medicaid: New York State spends more on Medicaid than any other state in the nation. We also mandate that counties pay for additional medical coverage, without participation in the decision making process.

Tedisco called for passage of several reforms to the Medicaid system, including elimination of spousal refusal for wealthy individuals and the immediate appointment of a Medicaid Inspector General to begin cracking down on the estimated $4.5 billion in fraud annually.

New York State Assembly
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