Brewster, N.Y. – (3/3/12) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) took action on his promise to end unfunded mandates, delivering relief options for schools, libraries and municipalities across the district this week.
On Tuesday, Senator Ball held a forum to discuss unfunded mandate relief for schools with Senator John J. Flanagan, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, at Peekskill Middle School. The forum was an opportunity for Senator Ball and Senator Flanagan to hear directly from those who have the knowledge and experience managing budgets in our school districts, and to have an open and frank discussion. Superintendents, principals, faculty and school board members in the 40th Senate District were in attendance.
“Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to receive the concerns of parents, school administrators and the community regarding education funding and mandates,” Senator Ball said. “I thank Senator Flanagan for taking the time to listen to their concerns and bring those concerns back to Albany.”
Dr. David Fine, Principal of Peekskill Middle School, said he left the meeting feeling confident that Senator Ball and Senator Flanagan had their best interests in mind.
“I think Senator Ball and Senator Flanagan have their finger on the pulse on the needs of education,” Dr. Fine said. “I think as politicians they’re going to do some things— communication and collaboration— to make some changes. I think the people in this auditorium have the ideas of what needs to happen—they are the drivers. And Senator Ball and Senator Flanagan are the vehicles of change.”
Dr. Ralph Napolitano, Superintendent of Yorktown Schools, said he was please that Senator Ball arranged an open forum with Senator Flanagan for local educators to take part in.
“The education of the children in New York State us too important to be jeopardized y miscommunication and misunderstanding,” Dr. Napolitano said. “This is an opportunity for all of us to get on the same page in order to provide the best educational experience for our children during these fiscally troubled times. This is an opportunity for us to collectively collaborate and to place our students at the center of our discussions. They are the future and decisions that remove them as our focal point will impact them and the state for many years to come.”
But Senator Ball’s push to end unfunded mandates didn’t stop there. On Friday, Senator Ball was joined by Senator Lee Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley) to discuss unfunded mandate relief for municipalities and libraries.
On December 9, 2011, the New York State Senate passed a bill (S50002), which would repeal the job-killing MTA payroll tax for 80% of those who pay it. Municipalities and libraries are among the 20% still burdened with this unfunded mandate. Now, the Senators would like to see swift passage of legislation (S6079A/S6206), which would exempt libraries and municipalities from the costly tax.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that if we conduct a forensic audit of the MTA accounting practices we will uncover hundreds of millions of dollars in savings and we will be able to fully repeal the MTA payroll tax once and for all,” Senator Ball said. “We need to work as a community, with our municipal officials, to keep the pressure strong.”
Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco said the repeal of this unfunded mandate for local governments is long overdue.
“I’m in full support of doing away with the MTA Payroll Tax,” Bianco said. “This is a tremendous amount of money we can use to pay our employees, police and others. So I definitely support Senator Ball in doing away with the MTA Payroll Tax for local governments.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Brittany Serra: (845) 200-9716.