Replace Tax Cap with Revenue Sharing, State Takeover Welfare

Dunlea Calls to Replace Tax Cap with State Revenue Sharing; Wants State Takeover of Welfare Programs          

Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for State Comptroller, today called for the state to lower local property taxes by increasing state revenue sharing to local governments.

Dunlea, former Town Board member in Poestenkill, would repeal the so-called cap on local property taxes, which the State Comptroller monitors implementation of. Dunlea said the tax cap has mainly been a public relations gimmick for the Governor and has failed to lower the state’s high level of property taxes.

Dunlea would also have the state assume the county’s cost of running public benefit programs for low-income New Yorkers by taking over the administration of food stamps (SNAP) and welfare programs. Dunlea has long advocated that the state enact a single payer universal health care system, which would end the need for counties to contribute to the Medicaid program.

“I managed to cut local property taxes every year I was on the Poestenkill town board. I want to see the same thing happen when I am state comptroller. The state has shifted far too many costs of government onto regressive state and local property taxes while starving local governments of funds for needed services and infrastructure investments,” said Dunlea.

Governor Rockefeller had instituted state revenue sharing with local governments at 8% since he recognized that the state had more progressive ways to raise revenues. Under Governor Cuomo, revenue sharing has fallen to 0.4%.

“Gov. Cuomo is balancing the state budget on the backs of local property taxpayers. He’s doing it in partnership with Democratic and Republican lawmakers by imposing unfunded mandates on local governments and doling out corporate welfare to big campaign donors. Meanwhile, working people struggle with underfunded schools, transit, and other local services while they pay the highest-in-the-nation property taxes, directly or for the landlord through their rents,” said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor.

“The rich get their stock transfer taxes rebated right back to them. Gov. Cuomo joins his Republican challenger Marc Molinaro in opposing taxes on millionaires. It’s time for progressive tax reforms that raise taxes on the 1% in order to restore state revenue sharing, put state mandates on local governments in the state budget, and cut regressive property and sales taxes on working people,” added Hawkins

Cities are especially harmed since many individuals come into cities to work, requiring increased expenditures for services such as road maintenance and fire and police protection, yet they live in surrounding communities where they pay local taxes. Dunlea said he supported giving cities the authority to enact local income taxes if they wanted. Cities are also often short changed in the counties’ distribution of local sales taxes.

New York is also unusual in that it requires counties to contribute a portion of the cost of running various federal and state welfare programs as well as Medicaid. Many counties illegally limit access to such benefit programs in order to cap the local tax contribution, which leads to increase hunger and homelessness. Dunlea, who ran the Hunger Action Network of New York State for twenty-years helping to feed more than 3 million New Yorkers annually, has long advocated for the state to take over the administration (and funding) of such public benefit programs as it does for unemployment.

“State administration of TANF, safety net and SNAP would reduce operational costs while standardizing delivery of services. It would also make it easier for legal advocates for the poor to win improvements in the delivery of services since they would just have to litigate and negotiate with the state rather than 57 different counties and NYC,” noted Dunlea.

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