Rep. Zeldin Statement in Support of the Property Tax Reduction Act
Washington, DC - Last night, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) addressed his colleagues in the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 1871, the Property Tax Reduction Act, which was introduced in the House by fellow New York Representatives, Congressman Chris Collins (R, NY-27) and Congressman John Faso (R, NY-19). The Property Tax Reduction Act would shift to the state level the local share of Medicaid costs currently paid by all New York counties outside of New York City.
A copy of Congressman Zeldin’s statement is below:
“I rise today in support of H.R. 1871, the Property Tax Reduction Act, which is essential legislation to give our counties and taxpayers desperately needed fiscal relief and to help bring New York’s Medicaid costs under control.
Under current federal law, states are allowed to impose a portion of their state Medicaid funding responsibility onto local municipalities. My state, New York, chose to take advantage of this in an extreme sense. In 2015, for example, New York transferred more than $7.2 billion of its non-federal Medicaid burden to counties. The burden New York has placed on its counties is greater than any other state in our country. The other 49 states combined only burden their counties with about $2.3 billion in Medicaid costs. This means that New York counties pay three times more for Medicaid than all other counties in the country combined. My home county, Suffolk, pays, on average, approximately a quarter billion dollars per year to the state for Medicaid, with $243,470,248, for example, being spent in 2015. Protecting our most vulnerable population is essential, and ensuring adequate funding for Medicaid programs is vital; however, New York’s program has dangerously exploded.
Our county governments around New York are in dire need of the fiscal relief provided through this legislation. There is no reason New York State cannot identify and achieve the $2.3 billion amount of efficiency necessary and available in the state Medicaid system, while at the same time making it clear that this can be achieved without harming any low income residents in need of coverage. If the state needs any advice on how to accomplish this, I am here to help. The state’s conversion to Managed Long Term Care, gross overbilling of Medicaid into the hundreds of millions of dollars by some entities, eight and nine figure at a time handouts to 1199 SEIU to curry political favor, and many other issues result in a major problem that must be immediately confronted head on. Not only does New York State spend more money on Medicaid than Illinois, Texas and Florida combined, but it spends just about the same amount on Medicaid costs that Florida spends on its entire state budget despite having an almost identically sized population.
H.R. 1871 would single handily flip Suffolk County's recurring massive nine-figure budget deficits into budget surpluses. For residents of my district, this is a dream scenario that lifts our county out of a very dire annual budget crisis. If this bill became law, you could eliminate Suffolk's $50 million annual property tax levy completely, eliminate Suffolk's $150 million structural deficit, and have $50 million left over for combating the heroin and opioid epidemic, improving infrastructure, public works programs, environmental preservation and coastal erosion programs, upgraded and improved sewering or for some other purpose that county residents deems necessary.
Passage of this bill is critical to providing necessary relief not only for Suffolk County, but many counties across New York. I urge all my colleagues to support this important measure, I thank Congressmen Chris Collins and John Faso for this proposal, and I look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back.”