The concern that local governments may be tapped to help fill a budget gap has trickled up to some state lawmakers in Albany.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address, without details, pointed to the state in recent years capping Medicaid growth for local governments. The comments drew concern from local government officials because they came in the broader context of a $6.1 billion budget gap, and a multi-billion Medicaid shortfall.
"It would most likely cause a property tax increase," said Assemblyman Phil Steck, a Democrat from the Albany area. "It would defeat the purpose of the property tax cap, which the governor has strongly supported and touts as one of his great achievements. I really don't understand the logic of doing this. I think there are better ways of addressing the state budget."
But there's no plan just yet. Cuomo on Monday in Rockland County remained mum on the specifics and said they would be released in the state budget presentation next week.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said it was understandable local governments have concerns with any whiff they would be even further on the hook for Medicaid.
"Any hint they have to spend more money, they get upset," Cuomo said. "I don't know if we are there yet. We haven't had any conversations in terms of specifics with what's going to happen with Medicaid."
But Heastie added there should be more of a "collaborative effort" between New York City and the state government on Medicaid.
"Localities have the ability to sign people, the state pays the bill, so there has to be a more collaborative effort between the state and the city," he said.