County Executive Maggie Brooks unveiled her FAIR plan late Wednesday and called for a special legislative session to vote on the plan. Under the plan Brooks says local taxpayers would no longer have to pay for Medicaid. But Democrats says the FAIR plan is simply a tax increase. “They’re calling it a tax decrease. They’re calling it something other than what it is. It is the Medicaid intercept and it is in fact a way for them to increase taxes without making it look like they’re increasing taxes,” said Democratic Minority Leader Carla Palumbo.
Gates Town councilmember Mark McIntee says the Fair plan could spell fiscal disaster for his residents. “Ten percent of our budget is sales tax revenue. We have over a two million dollar deficit right now. We owe the state over a million dollars for our retirement funds. If they take the $1.4 million dollars away from us we're done,” said Mark McIntee. But Republican lawmaker Bill Smith disagrees. “Towns and cities and villages will continue to receive from the county the same that they would have received if we had not opted into the Medicaid swap,” said Smith.
As part of her FAIR plan, Brooks also is calling for a change in the way the county helps fund Monroe Community College. Under the proposal, localities with a large number of MCC students are likely to pay a higher county property tax rate. Currently the money comes from the county’s general fund. Brooks also proposes a $10 increase in the vehicle registration fee. She also wants to cut the county’s tax rate from $9.10 per $1,000 assessed value to $8.99 per $1,000 assessed value.