(WKBW release) Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz on Wednesday issued the following statement praising Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Senate & Assembly on the anticipated passage of an on-time 2012-2013 New York State Budget.
“On behalf of the residents and taxpayers of Erie County, I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for the incredible amount of work and cooperation that went into the crafting of the 2012-2013 New York State Budget, which we anticipate will be adopted by the end of this week. Not only will this budget be adopted on-time, for the second year in a row, but it also demonstrates a remarkable shift towards instituting meaningful mandate relief and a renewed commitment to fostering real economic growth in Buffalo and Erie County.”
“For almost as long as unfunded mandates have been passed down, elected officials have been talking about doing something about it. For years, we have heard tough talk about taking action and providing relief, but nothing has happened.
“Last year, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature passed the 2% Tax Cap, which was a major victory for the local taxpayer. However, this cap was not an end in itself. The missing link was meaningful mandate relief. Medicaid represents the single largest burden to local governments across New York State, and will cost Erie County more than $209.4 million this year, even with the current 3% growth cap in place.
“The Governor has listened and the Legislature is set to adopt his bold plan to phase out Medicaid growth costs to local governments by 2015. This phase-out is expected to save Erie County more than $970,000 in 2013 with savings increasing each year to more than $177.4 million over the next 10 years. At a time when every dollar counts, this plan means real, multi-million dollar savings for Erie County.
“And while Buffalo and Erie County have seen hard times for a long time, the stars seem to be aligning for us now and much of that has to do with the renewed sense of purpose and commitment to fostering real economic growth we are seeing here from the State.
“The Governor understands what I have been saying for years: as goes the city of Buffalo, as goes Erie County and the rest of Western New York. With this budget, the Governor begins to make good on his pledge to provide $1billion in economic development funding for Buffalo with ‘down payment’ of sorts that includes $75 million in new capital spending along with $25 million in tax breaks for businesses to expand or relocate here.
“I, again, want to thank Governor Cuomo for working with the Legislature on a budget that I believe is a victory for Buffalo and Erie County and I look forward to its passage soon.”