Allegany County lawmakers bemoan state $1.2 million-plus proposed budget hit

Allegany County Board of Legislators Chairman W. Brooke Harris, center, discusses a resolution Wednesday which opposes a state budget proposal which he says will cost county taxpayers between $1.2 and $1.4 million annually. Listening are Board Clerk Brenda Rigby Riehle, left, and County Administrator Carissa Knapp. (Allegany Hope Photo)

Allegany County legislators are going on the offensive against a proposal by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul which, they say, will cost county taxpayers between $1.2 and $1.4 million annually.

The Board of Legislators adopted a resolution yesterday, urging state legislators to reject the governor’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year, starting April 1, which would withhold federal Medicaid funding which, it says, was designed to go to the state’s counties.

Board Chairman W. Brooke Harris of Alfred commented before the vote that “this is probably the single most fiscally damaging (state) executive budget item for our county taxpayers” which he has seen during his past five years as a county legislator.

He said that under the Enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistant Percentage (eFMAP), created in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, county government were to receive federal funds to assist with the “burdensome local share of Medicaid costs.”

The state Association of Counties is estimating the impact of the Hochul move to subvert money that it says Congress intended for counties will cost local taxpayers more than $1 billion statewide.

Allegany legislators already contend that reconciliation of eFMAP payments to counties, which would end entirely in August, are more than $1.4 million overdue.

County Legislator Janice Burdick of Alfred Station also called on county taxpayers to contact their state representatives to voice displeasure with the governor’s proposal.