continued “I would need to lay off about 800 workers and end an untold amount of services to reach that goal,” he said.
McCoy said the tax cap was supposed to be paired with mandate relief, and he called on the state to end the mandates or also cap them at 2 percent.
If his budget is not adopted, McCoy said non-mandated programs like the Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center, Children’s Dental Clinic, Mental Health Substance Abuse Clinic, Children’s Mental Health and the entire Department of Aging would have to be eliminated.
“It’s a mirage,” he said. “But I will say the cap has made us roll up our sleeves and really look at budget and where we can save.”
The tentative budget forecasts a 6 percent increase in sales tax receipts over last year. About $230 million in sales tax revenue was generated in 2011, with 60 percent remaining with the county and 40 percent being split between the 19 municipalities therein. McCoy had proposed changing the formula to allow for more county revenues, but most legislators did not feel it wise to place more of a burden on municipalities to make up those funds.
Included within the proposal is a plan to add 12 workers — five within the County Executive’s Office and seven within the offices of elected officials.
“We need people who look at things differently and think outside of the box to solve this problem,” said McCoy.
The new positions include a grant writer, two contract investigators and new employees within both the Sheriff and District Attorney Offices. A nearly $30,000 raise is included for District Attorney David Soares, which is part of a judicial raises agreement which stipulates district attorney wages be the same as family court judges.
“It’s essentially an unfunded mandate,” said McCoy. “He could refuse it, but would you?”