by Jeremy Moule
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says the sales tax intercept has saved the county $30 million in Medicaid costs since it took effect in 2008, but now she wants to repeal it.
The intercept, controversial when it was introduced, is an arrangement where the state takes approximately half of the county's sales tax revenue and, in turn, covers the county's share of Medicaid costs. The 2012 to 2013 state budget set a new Medicaid cap for all counties, and also included a provision permitting Monroe to drop the swap.
Brooks says that the new Medicaid cap is a better option than the intercept.
A press release from the Brooks administration says the Legislature should vote on a referral repealing the swap during its December meeting, the same time the Legislature usually votes on the budget. A separate press release from Democratic legislators says a county committee will take up the referral on September 26.
Democrats twice this year introduced legislation to repeal the intercept, but Legislature President Jeff Adair rejected the referrals. They've argued that the only reason the intercept was successful was because of sluggish sales tax growth. If sales tax growth improved, the county would lose the swap's benefit, they've said.
"I am delighted that Maggie Brooks has finally come to the realization that the intercept will cost taxpayers going forward,” said Legislator Paul Haney, the Democrat who sponsored both referrals, in a press release.