Carmel, N.Y. – 10/23/2012 – With the possibility of a special session in the near future, Senator Greg Ball (Patterson – R, C) and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to take an up-or-down vote before January 1, 2013 to pass a comprehensive mandate relief package.
“The pressing issue of property tax relief is directly linked to our ability to deliver comprehensive and lasting mandate relief to our school districts and local governments. From burdensome testing requirements, local reporting nightmares, administrative bureaucracy to very specific and costly MS4 requirements there are a myriad of opportunities for Albany to deliver relief,” said Senator Greg Ball. “Step one begins with doing no more harm and immediately ending legislative action on all future unfunded mandates. Step two is to hold a special session and require an up or down vote on a comprehensive mandate relief package.”
On October 3, County Executive MaryEllen Odell presented the Putnam County 2013 Budget to the Legislature. The budget was aptly titled, The Tale of Two Budgets.
The budget as proposed stayed within the 2% tax cap legislated by the NYS Legislature. The budget did, however reveal that 73% of the county’s 139.2 million dollar budget is comprised of New York State and Federal mandated programs.
“The largest single budget line item in our county’s budget is Medicaid. The bill for Medicaid from New York State is 9.8 million dollars and this is the local share for the 5000 residents who are currently Medicaid recipients. If you factor in the New York State and Federal funding the total cost for those 5000 residents is 92 million dollars,” said Putnam County Executive MayEllen Odell. “Putnam County government is committed to the 2% tax cap. Will Albany commit to Mandate Relief?”
County Legislator Carl Albano, County Legislator Roger Gross and Patterson Town Councilwomen Ginny Nacerin joined the call for unfunded mandate relief. All agreed that the passage of the 2% Property Tax Cap has created the urgent need for the state government to deal with the mounting and crushing burden of unfunded mandates.
“Having served on the Board of Education, Town Board, and now the County Legislator, I can affirm that the continuous approval of “unfunded mandates” from both Albany and Washington are budget busters for local schools, towns, and counties. It just never ends,” said Legislator Gross. “Such mandates eat up major portions of these budgets. We need to keep the pressure on our elected officials to stop this “passing the buck” or approve full funding for such legislation.”
“We need the mandate relief and we need it now. The mandates that were put in place are no longer feasible at the local level,” said Albano. “We have now come to the point where everyone must work together to make the appropriate adjustments.”
“Working with colleagues on Patterson Town Board I know first hand how difficult it is to stay work on a budget under the two percent property tax cap with all the mandates,” said Councilwomen Nacerino. “I appreciate Senator Ball’s efforts in spearheading this mandate relief.”
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Joe Bachmeier at (845) 200 9716.