Legislative Column: Where is the Mandate Relief?


Contact Joseph Ahearn, (914) 774-6856 Katz4NY@gmail.com



A legislative column by Assemblyman Steve Katz (R,C,I-Yorktown)


Where is the mandate relief we were promised?


When I was first elected in 2010, I went to Albany with an open mind and a desire to improve the lives of those I represent. I still do. But one thing that I have seen over the past two years is that Albany lies.


We have been discussing the issue of unfunded mandates for as long as I can remember. Yet every year when Albany enacts another budget, mandate relief receives scant attention and our municipalities and taxpayers are left to shoulder the burden for another year.


Currently, our counties are forced to spend 90 percent of their property tax levy statewide on nine mandates. This is not only unfair to our counties, but unsustainable in the long term as well. We’ve already seen Syracuse, Albany and Rochester need state assistance in the form of a bailout, and Yonkers may be the next city to require a state financial control board.


Two years ago the governor signed a 2-percent property tax cap. This bill passed with bipartisan support because meaningful unfunded mandate relief was promised to soon follow. This was another Albany lie and because of its negligence, more counties are handcuffed and on the brink of insolvency. Something needs to be done.


The New York State Association of Counties has put forth a proposal to tackle unfunded mandates head-on consisting of an outline fixing the fourteen different areas that are the principal drivers of unfunded mandates. I strongly back this proposal and currently sponsor their plan in the Assembly. This plan needs to be enacted so our counties can remain solvent without having to raise taxes. Should the governor allow Albany to continue down this path there are only two dire outcomes: either the 2-percent tax cap will become null and void or we will see more counties teeter on the precipice of bankruptcy. Albany needs to act now so communities across our state don’t face further fiscal turmoil.


More information regarding the counties plan it can be viewed here: http://nysac.org/policy-research/documents/NYSACMandateReliefProposalFeb2013-2.pdf.


The nine mandates and 90 percent number can be found on NYSAC’s website here: http://www.nysac.org/legislative-action/9_for_90_Campaign.php.

 Bazzo 03/13/13

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