Albany, N.Y. – 03/05/2014 – On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) hosted a “Stop Albany” Unfunded Mandate Relief Lobby Day. Local government and school officials from throughout the 40th Senate District traveled to Albany to meet with legislators to lobby for much needed unfunded mandate relief.
Albany has a long history of passing unfunded mandates down to local municipalities and schools. Unfunded mandates drive up costs to schools, municipalities, and counties; ultimately driving up taxes. In part, these mandates have forced New York to have some of the highest taxes in the nation.
Governor Cuomo recently announced a “No Excuses” campaign, that will enact a two-year freeze on property taxes if local governments stay within the property-tax cap and, in year two, commit to consolidating service. However, without immediate unfunded mandate relief, many local governments and school districts won’t be able to meet this requirement.
“Mandate relief means tax relief. We really need to take an up or down vote on a comprehensive mandate relief package this session. From burdensome testing requirements, local reporting nightmares and administrative bureaucracy, there are a myriad of opportunities for Albany to deliver relief, and the grim reality is that municipalities and school districts all across the state are at the breaking point. In addition to the vote on the comprehensive mandate relief package, the Assembly needs to pass legislation ending all future state mandates, as we have repeatedly done in the Senate,” said Senator Greg Ball.
Last year, Senator Ball supported and passed a key piece of legislation (S1294) that would require New York State to fund any program that imposes a mandate upon municipal corporations or school districts. Unfortunately, the legislation failed in the Assembly.
According to Duchess County Executive Molinaro, 70% of the county’s net costs are consumed by mandates.
“Mandate relief is our path to substantial tax relief and comprehensive government reform,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro. “With 70% of Dutchess County’s net costs consumed by mandates, core county programs and services are being crowded out and our residents must shoulder the burden of paying Albany’s bills. Our state legislators, including Senator Greg Ball, have put forth specific mandate relief proposals that can provide relief. We must get them passed! We will work together with Sen. Ball and our other state representatives to advocate for these proposals and finally get state legislative leaders to pay attention to the need for honest mandate relief.”
“I would like to thank Senator Greg Ball for his efforts to deliver much needed mandate relief. Putnam County is working hard to stay under the tax cap, and while it is an important goal, the only way we can continue to stay under the cap is if the state delivers mandate relief. The bottom line is, the county is working hard to stay under the cap and the state needs to do their part – we need help,” said County Legislator Carl Albano.
“The first step to lessening the burden on taxpayers is to provide real relief from unfunded mandates. Local municipalities are faced with tough choices and eliminating essential services affecting public safety, road maintenance, metal health and programs for seniors. Without immediate action, the affect on New Yorker’s quality of life will surely suffer further,” said Rob Rolison, Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature and Chairman of Senator Ball’s Unfunded Mandate Relief Advisory Council.
“I would like to commend Senator Greg Ball for organizing this unfunded mandate relief lobby day. The solution is simple, if the State approves any legislation that directly or indirectly increases local property taxes, the State should pay the costs for that legislation and not send it down to us in the form of unfunded mandates,” said North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas.
Additionally, Governor Cuomo has commissioned an eleven member Mandate Relief Council charged with supporting proposals to reduced statutory and regulatory burdens on local governments, school districts, and businesses. The Council has reported two annual reports with a host of recommended mandates that should be eliminated or reformed.
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