Counties Urge Swift Federal Action to Protect Local Services

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) this week sent a letter to the New York Congressional Delegation calling on Congress to swiftly pass a fourth stimulus bill that provides additional funding for counties and the State of New York.

Specifically, the counties are supporting Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s request seeking an increase in federal Medicaid assistance and unrestricted federal funding to address lost revenue and an increase in need for social services provided through New York’s counties.

“Through our public health department hero’s, first responders, and the social service workers helping families cope with the economic devastation of COVID-19, counties are on the front lines of this crisis,” said NYSAC President John F. Marren. “Today, we are thanking our congressional delegation for their support and leadership, and we are asking them to support the Governor’s request for additional federal assistance so that counties can continue providing services through this crisis.”

Counties are looking for support for funding and administering a wide array of social services—TANF, HEAP, child support, child welfare services and adult protective services—that are of increasingly vital importance during the COVID-19 pandemic and the acute economic slowdown brought on by social distancing.

“Whether it’s the heroic doctors, nurses and staff of our local health departments, our first responders or the social service providers who are helping families as they cope with the economic devastation of COVID-19, counties are on the front lines of this crisis,” said NYSAC President John F. Marren. “While counties are grateful for the support we’ve received from the New York Delegation, the depth and length of this crisis is placing incredible strain on our local governments and we need swift, additional assistance from the federal government to continue providing the services our residents depend on.”

Services administered and/or funded by counties in New York (which are unique in the nation) include:

  • Medicaid-administered and funded by counties
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – Administered by counties
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – Administered by counties through their public health departments
  • Safety Net Assistance – Counties administer and fund 71 percent
  • Child Care – Subsidized by some counties in New York
  • Child Support Enforcement – Administered by counties
  • Early Intervention and Pre-School Special Education – Counties in New York contribute roughly 50 percent of the total cost to each program.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – Counties play a large role in paying for and coordinating services
  • Preschool Special Education Programs – Counties and NYC spend about $800 million per year on this program
  • Summer School Special Education Program – Counties contribute roughly 10 percent, roughly $40 million annually

“The federal support is critical during these extraordinary times, and we urge the federal government to move quickly to pass a fourth piece of recovery legislation that provides direct support to the state and to the local governments in the form of increased Medicaid funding and unrestricted aid,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “We are one New York, and the state’s ask to the federal government ought to be supported by the thousands of local government elected officials. We are partnering with the state in solidarity to get the assistance New York needs.”

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