ALBANY –Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- 57th District) has introduced legislation (S.7408) to reduce the local property tax burden by providing 100 percent state aid to cover the increase in the county district attorneys’ salaries.
“Providing this mandate relief for our county governments affords them better control over their own finances, and helps them pass along that savings to residents and businesses. The state can assume the cost much easier than our local governments, and it’s only right that we do so,” said Senator Young.
District Attorney salaries are tied in statute to judicial pay. When the State Commission of Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Compensation set a raise for the state’s judges last year, a comparable increase was also mandated for full-time local district attorneys.
The state’s judicial system sets its own budget, which incorporated the pay raise for judges. However, funding for the additional costs for district attorneys was not included in the governor’s original proposal, or the final state budget. While the issue was raised by the Senate during the budget hearing and negotiations, it ultimately fell off the table.
In 2015, New York State covered about 50 percent of local district attorneys’ salaries, with the respective county’s budget covering the remaining salary cost. However, by not providing for additional aid in the Executive Budget Proposal, or the final budget, counties are absorbing a 15 percent increase, approximately $30,000, without any additional assistance from Albany.
In April, Senator Young wrote to Governor Cuomo requesting that the additional costs be reimbursed by the state, for each county experiencing an increase. When incorporated into the total state budget, the cost represents about .001 percent of this year’s enacted budget.
“Along with sponsoring this legislation, I definitely would support a chapter amendment to the state budget that would make the counties whole, and will be working to address this issue in the remaining weeks of the Legislative Session,” said Senator Young.