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Tax cap needs plan for mandate relief, officials say

The majority of expenditures that are borne by local governments, said Zurlo, are ones mandated by the state.

In addition with limited revenues and "less than stellar sales tax receipts" in the last three years, a property tax cap without mandate relief will cost services and jobs, the county administrator warned.

"When revenues go down and expenses increase, that's an equation that does not balance," said Zurlo. "And, to get that to balance, there's going to be services within this county that are no longer going to be affordable."

The New York State Association of Counties has called on state leaders to assume the $2 billion county share of Medicaid for the 57 counties outside New York City, which is a stance Zurlo said he wholeheartedly supports.

"If the state took away our largest mandate - Medicaid - we could not only cap your taxes, we could reduce them in ClintonCounty by 60 percent,"Zurlo continued, adding the majority of states in the union have already done so. "In fact, only nine of a myriad of state mandates consume 112 percent of the county tax levy."

Under a property tax cap, Zurlo said the legislature would work "very hard" throughout its budget process to balance the burden on taxpayers with the services provided by the county.

"But, the services we provide, I can tell you now, are going to be affected and the people who provide those services are going to be affected," said Zurlo.

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