News Release


For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

October 4, 2002

Legislative Leadership Advised State Imposed Costs Create $2 Million Deficit


In a meeting late Thursday with Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Legislature Chairman Bradford Kendall and other legislative leaders, County Budget Director Kevin D. Fish advised the projected deficit of $2 million in state imposed and mandated Medicaid costs announced last May 24th remains unchanged for the year end 2002 budget year. 

Fish announced that a resolution will be submitted to the Legislature for consideration in November to increase county appropriations approximately $6 million to pay the costs of state mandated programs for the disabled and youth needing institutional and other placement, as well as the state imposed Medicaid health program.  However, only $4 million in offsetting reimbursement is available to cover the $6 million additional program costs.  Accordingly, the remaining $2 million Medicaid deficit for 2002 will require an appropriation from the county’s fund balance which already had been tapped earlier this year to pay for union contract settlements and to address additional jail costs. 

Looking ahead to 2003, Fish also advised legislative leaders that the fiscal problems forcing double digit property tax hikes in 2003 county budgets from Long Island to upstate, to the southern tier, and to the western boundaries are impacting Dutchess County as well.  Social Services Commissioner Robert Allers advised Fish that local Medicaid cost next year will soar $7 million above this year’s adopted budgeted amount, resulting in a combined $9 million of additional Medicaid spending in just two years  Fish advised that money currently paying for ongoing county programs and services would likely have to be diverted next year to pay the skyrocketing cost of the state-imposed Medicaid burden.  He pledged that senior staff will work diligently to minimize the property tax increase, but acknowledged that the financial picture is grim for property taxpayers and for a wide range of existing programs due to state dictated Medicaid spending. 

Subsequent to the meeting with the legislators, Steinhaus noted that we do recognize the merit of the benefits provided through the Medicaid Program.  However, he noted, “The issue county officials agree on is traditional core county services are being threatened and damaged because Medicaid is siphoning away all our dollars.  The message is simple; those who make the public policy decisions in Albany must be responsible for paying the costs associated with those decisions.  If the state government wishes to enrich Medicaid programs, the state government should pay for these enrichments.”  In addition, “We strongly believe an extensive medical health services program should be paid for by a broader state tax base—not local property taxes. 

County Executive Steinhaus will submit his budget proposal to the County Legislature by November 1st.


2002 Press Releases