The Nassau and Suffolk County Executives Thomas Suozzi and Steve Levy have pointed out that property taxes on Long Island are now 72 percent higher than the national average. This, in our opinion, has worked a particular hardship on many senior citizens.
A major contributing factor to this situation is the manner in which New York State finances the growing cost of Medicaid. As is well known, the Federal Government helps all of the states to pay their Medicaid expenses. In the case of New York, Washington pays 50 percent of our total bill. But Albany in turn has required all counties in the state to pay half of the state's part of the bill. Only one other state burdens its counties in this way.
The counties of course have only one practical way to meet this ever-increasing expense. They have to raise property taxes, which are figured on the current market value of our homes. Although the law does provide some tax reduction for low-income seniors, ever-increasing property taxes have been a heavy burden for many who live on modest fixed incomes. And some, who have lived here all their lives, have been forced to leave the Island.
To keep this situation from getting even worse, the two county's executives are now asking the New York State legislature to cap the counties share of the Medicaid expense at the current level. Future increases would then be paid by the state. And if that should require a tax increase, it could be shared in proportion to one's income through the income tax.
The board of directors of the Massapequa Chapter of AARP is very much in favor of the Suozzi - Levy proposal. We think it makes a lot of sense. Accordingly, on behalf of our 250 members, we have written our two representatives in the state legislature, Senator Charles Fuschillo and Assemblyman Joseph Saladino and have asked them to work in support of enabling legislation.
Needless to say, we hope that many of you readers will also contact their state representatives in support of this eminently reasonable proposal.
First Vice President
AARP Massapequa Chapter #4727