Rockland County property owners found out on their tax bills this month just how much they pay to cover the local share of Medicaid, a health-care program for the poor and disabled. The $68.3 million figure had many taxpayers calling their town’s receiver of taxes to ask about the charge, The Journal News/lohud.com reports.
The Medicaid total is more than half of the $105.96 million in county property taxes for 2014. The program is paid for by a combination of federal, state and county taxes in New York. New York is one of two states that requires a local share.
Haverstraw’s tax receiver, Ann McGovern, has been fielding some of the calls.
“A lot of people want to know why they have to pay for Medicaid when they don’t get Medicaid,” McGovern said.
Clarkstown’s town clerk, Justin Sweet, whose office began handling tax receiver duties this year, said one man called to tell him he was sending in his check, but deducting the Medicaid portion of the tax levy.
“I had to explain to him he has been paying it along,” Sweet said.
The annual town and county property tax bill that gets sent out each January has long broken down the cost each property owner must pay for various services — state/county, general town, police, fire district, ambulance district, sewer and solid waste services, and so on. The state/county line previously included the Medicaid cost, along with the costs for remaining state-mandated programs and general county government costs.
The county’s real property tax officer, Sean Mathews, who previously served as former County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s chief of staff, said a decision was made before Vanderhoef left office Dec. 31 to add the new line to show Medicaid’s burden on local taxpayers.