WILL PROPOSE RESOLUTION REJECTING CHARGEBACKS TO TOWNS
COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S STATEMENTS REVEAL FLIP-FLOPPING
New City, NY (January 30, 2015) – Rockland County Legislator and Legislature Vice Chairman Jay Hood (District 3 – Haverstraw) will propose a resolution before the legislature to condemn the recent action unilaterally taken by County Executive Ed Day to pass along millions in college chargeback costs to the five towns in Rockland. The issue was previously laid to rest in 2013, when the Legislature voted against passing along those costs to towns.
In a letter sent to each town supervisor, Ed Day’s Deputy Budget Director flatly stated that the Budget Department would simply deduct the amount of chargeback costs from the sales tax disbursements made to each town. This would result in every town having hundreds of thousands of dollars in new expenses that they did not budget for 2015, creating deficits in every town and wreaking havoc on their finances. The letter was sent without the knowledge or approval of the Legislature, which by law is the appropriating body of the county, and has the sole authority to decide such matters.
“The County Executive has now embarked on an overreaching unilateral power grab that hurts every town and every taxpayer,” said Legislator Hood. “It is simply unacceptable for the executive to garnish the sales tax revenue of every town without legislative approval to do so. The Legislature has rejected this proposal in the past, and did so again during the recent budget process. Ed Day must accept the limitations of his office and cannot act unlawfully and independently when the Legislature rejects his damaging proposals. It will cost the taxpayers more on the town level without any proposed reduction on the county side.”
County Executive Ed Day cited a recent court decision from a Long Island county as the justification for his position, and the letter sent to town supervisor’s states, “I have no other alternative than to pass the appropriate expense to your town.” Legislator Hood vehemently disagrees with that notion. “There is no court decision that states that counties must pass along the costs, only that they may. Furthermore, no court in the world would agree that the county executive can unilaterally pass along those costs without approval of the Legislature, and it seems that Ed Day may have to discover that the hard way.”
Interestingly, as a Rockland County Legislator, Ed Day himself stated the following during the October 1, 2013 Legislature meeting: “I did not support chargebacks when it came up last year, and I will not support chargebacks going forward to the towns. It is wrong.” Mr. Day made similar statements and promises to that effect on his Facebook page and elsewhere. Yet on January 23rd of this year, he stated on WRCR that, “The tuition chargeback should be paid by the towns. This is a legitimate cost that should be borne by the town level of government.”
“Rockland residents deserve better than simple tax shifting from one bill to another and a County Executive who acts alone and outside the parameters of the law and government. In an age when the public has become disillusioned by politicians who act in such a manner, it is more important than ever that every official act within the confines of the law,” Legislator Hood added. “Processes must be followed, and promises must be honored, and that’s what my resolution is all about. The Legislature will continue to hold itself up to that standard and act in the best interests of all Rocklanders, just as we did during the recent budget process.”