In testimony before the State Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy today offered the county’s fiscal priorities and budget requests for the 2015-16 state budget. McCoy joined numerous other local and elected officials who testified today before the committee.
“Over the last two years, Albany County has been under the tax cap and if we are going to continue that trend we need to partner with the state to address the unfunded mandates we face,” said McCoy. “I want to continue the progress we’ve made and look forward to working with the legislature to keep us moving forward.”
In his testimony McCoy offered the county’s requests to the legislature and issues that the state should address to benefit New Yorkers, ease the burden on taxpayers, protect the environment and public safety.
The requests included:
· Due to the increase in shipping of crude oil through Albany, the County Executive called on the legislature to provide funding to prevent and respond to oil spills at the Port of Albany. The Governor has proposed $15 million in investments at the port. McCoy said some of that should be provided for safety.
· A request that the legislature enact legislation that would provide equal justice under the law for indigent defendants. McCoy has drafted a bill that would require the state to fund the Assigned Counsel program, which would relieve this underfunded mandate. The bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and has the support of NYSAC and the Albany County Bar Association.
· The County Executive requested that the legislature address the issue of chargebacks to the county for students attending Hudson Valley Community College. He requested that the state accelerate enact reforms proposed by SUNY in the “State University of New York Chargeback In Methodology and Plan.” This would require host counties to contribute a fair amount compared to non-host counties such as Albany County. Since 2006 the county’s contributions to HVCC have doubled from $4.9 million annually to $8.8 million. In contrast Rensselaer County’s share has increased minimally in that time, just $500,000 over the same time frame.
· The County Executive urged the legislature to support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to cap the county mandated costs of youth detention placement in state facilities and to end retroactive billing for the county. The county has yet to reconcile charges from 2011 and has not received bills for 2012, 2013 or 2014. The cost to the county is in excess of $2 million annually.