Friday, September 02, 2011


Because we are in such a financial dilemma in Ulster County, I felt the need to address something that many of you may not think about on a daily basis. The county's Safety Net program.

Since this past April, there have been two important bills lingering in the Judiciary Committees of the Assembly and state Senate. Bills that would have a direct effect on the amount of tax dollars we set aside for all the programs that shelter, feed and medicate those who are in most need. 

New Yorkers are notorious for making the best effort to help those in need. Ulster County residents are among the most noble. But there is a shift toward the dark side heading our way as of this January.

Of the States that actually have any form of Safety Net service, New York and California have the most to offer. Clients come to Ulster County from across the country because we are the best at giving away Federal, State and local tax dollars. If you were in a desperate situation, wouldn't you come to where they treat you the best? Of course. Problem is, we cant afford it anymore.

So rather than just close the doors on the rising tide of new New Yorkers in such need, I am asking the following: 
That the County Legislature and Executive pass MY resolution, urging the state Judiciary Committee to revive the tabled Bills and allow the counties across the state to dictate a residency requirement of their liking to stem the tide of nomadic tribes of clients that criss-cross the eastern seaboard.

Senate Bill No: S2494
Sponsors: Ranzenhofer, Alesi, Johnson, Larkin, Libous
Assembly Bill No: A2281
Sponsor: Schimminger (MS)

  The concurrent resolution in the Senate and Assembly proposes an amendment to the Constitution in relation to a residency period prior to receipt of certain social services.  New York has one of the most generous Medicare and social services programs in the U.S.  

Current New York laws hold no requirement regarding length of residency for benefit recipients.  Applicants must only reside in New York and show intent to remain in the state for the foreseeable future.  This is proven through documents such as a driver’s license. 
The proposed legislation 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 paragraph above is attached to the legislation and merely reiterates what I am looking for from the Legislature. A unanimous vote in favor of this resolution may help our state leadership realize their delay in action is costing New Yorkers precious tax dollars as well as added burden on our infrastructure.

When I talk about the shift in January, I mean when the state arbitrarily decreases their share of Safety Net funding from 50% to 23%. That's right, we will be responsible for 77% here in Ulster County. For those who don't know, we are the only county in the country where the municipality that's housing the client pays the County's share. The City of Kingston better get ready for a significant increase in taxes/cuts this budget season because my fellow Legislators are still showing no signs of accepting their fiscal responsibility on this issue.


Anonymous said...

Allow me to digest this. We are already burdened with 50% of the cost of Safety Net in Kingston. We are the crown jewel of enabling programs with the homeless shelter, massive compounds for government subsidized housing, drug rehabs and recovering wife beater rooming houses. Now you say the burden will go up to 77%? When do we say enough is enough?

Anonymous said...

Mike: Great bill to have in place!! I am so tired of the nomads who come here and when the time comes to help longterm residents there is no money. In the wake of Irene's devastation there is going to be a need to help the local citizens get back on their feet. Taxpaying citizens, that is. I have no problem with that. It is the malingerers who have no intention of getting back on their feet. Just content to sit on their backsides.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you are assuming that your colleagues on the Legislature will go allong with this resolution. They arent used to acting on something that originates on their own side of the sixth floor. You have no business acting like an Alderman on the Legislature. Sit down and be quiet.

Anonymous said...

Residency requirement should have been in place ages ago and not just for receiving services. Why not a 90-day residency requirement for employment opportunities at a County or City office as well?

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for sounding political in the midst of a Primary, but arent you up against another incumbent of 18 years who was actually the Chairman at one time? Could this have been addressed any time before this term?
Also, with Ulster County the way it's Safety Net program is unfairly funded, where the hell is Assemblyman Cahill's name for sponsorship?
Someone explain this.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone other than your Blog viewers aware of your Resolution or will the press actually mention this before the Primary. I think it's worth letting people know that someone is actually bringing this up. Unless they are prohibited from reporting anything you might say.

Terence said...

Much of what the sitting legislators say about various funding mandates is that the county cannot change what the state mandates, and the state itself is limited by its own constitution. Will this proposal pass constitutional muster?

Mike Madsen said...

Dictating such requirements are currently restricted by the NY constitution. The mere fact that this is going through the proper process in the two houses is astonishing and promising.
As written, the change would allow counties to require anywhere between 24 hours and 90 days residency before filing SafetyNet applications. Each county can decide the minimum requirement as they see fit.
The Judiciary has sat on hhis long enough. We ard asking that they bring it back out and make a decision. Lawmakers deserve swift action since we are all facing budget issues heading into 2012.
With the weather damage in NY, we found our agencies strapped with out-of-state applicants already strapping their resources. This merely gives preference to local people who need services rather than those coming from Tennessee.