Friday, September 2, 2011

A Way To Cut the Escalating Costs of Social Services

Legislator Madsen announced a proposal on his blog to support a memorializing resolution from the County Legislature urging the State Legislature to pass Senate Bill S2494 and Assembly Bill A2281. These bills would create a mandatory residency requirement before an individual may receive Safety Net benefits. (Our State Senator, Bill Larkin, is a co-sponsor of the bill)

While I normally do not support memorializing resolutions, I think an exception needs to be made here. The State must pass this residency requirement.

By way of background, under the current law, a person who can show they reside in New York and intend to stay for the foreseeable future is entitled to apply for benefits. If a person has a NY driver's license, that will be more than enough to get these benefits. This is one of the least stringent requirements in the country. Consequently, people are flocking to Ulster County because we give away the money better than anyone else.

As Mike noted on his blog, while it is nice to be generous and welcoming to those less fortunate, we simply cannot afford this anymore. With Ulster County being the only county in the State that passes half the costs down to the cities and towns, the City of Kingston now pays over $1 million per year to these costs, and the amount keeps rising every year. In short, the Safety Net is strangling city taxpayers.

Senate Bill S2494 and Assembly Bill A2281 would
"protect 'true' New York residents who need these services by authorizing the NYS Legislature to enact a period of residency as a requirement for social services applicants".

The purpose of the Safety Net is to help New York residents who have fallen on hard times get back on their feet and get back to work. It was not designed to attract people from outside New York to take advantage of our generosity and hospitality. Unfortunately, this is what has happened.

We need a strict residency requirement to cut down on the huge expenses in the Social Service budget that are being passed down to the city causing substantial and crippling tax increases.

Therefore, while I normally do not support memorializing resolutions, this is one that city leaders should support strongly. I urge passage of this resolution and certainly urge the State Legislature to pass this important bill.


Anonymous said...

You agreeing with a proposal from a Democrat? You really have matured, Rich. Four years ago, when you ran against Jimmy, you'd never have done this.

There may be hope for you yet.

You and Mike are right. My taxes are just killing me. I work harder and harder every year. I guess I have to because the people on welfare are counting on me.

Anonymous said...

I support this bill 100%, it is a good start to correcting some problems. it is a start...

Anonymous said...

Get back to the King's Inn - I expect individuals to act in their own self interest but the experienced career public servants involved are paid good salary and terrific benefits to protect us the taxpayers - tolerating anything less condones corruption.

Anonymous said...

Finally a proposal that Democrats and Republicans can get behind. We need to move forward while we have the momentum. I was sitting on the fence regarding Madsen or Donaldson but I believe I will lean towards Madsen based on this statement.
The recent disaster here in Ulster County sheds light on why legitimate persons living here need help from Safety Net, its original intent, and cannot be taken over by malingerers or nomads.
I too am exhausted in trying to keep up with the tax bill to pay for people who want permenent vacation pay. It gauls me to see them walking the streets socializing during normal work hours when they could at least do some volunteering around the city.