Senator Griffo: bill would end unfunded mandates
ALBANY, N.Y. - State Senator Joseph A. Griffo said Tuesday that he has introduced Senate Bill 1294 in an attempt to bring mandate relief to schools and local governments faced with rising costs for programs required by Albany bureaucrats by banning any future mandates that do not supply funding to pay for delivering the services. "For too long, the state has solved its fiscal problems by passing the buck to county governments, cities, towns, villages and school districts. My bill is very plain common sense: When Albany passes a law or a new regulation, it has to provide the revenue to support the provision of whatever service is required. Enacting this law will allow Albany to be a good faith partner with local governments to help them reduce their costs and keep property taxes down," Griffo said. Griffo also called for a moratorium on mandates until the legislation can become law. "We all know the burden is too heavy already," Griffo said. "It would be wrong to add to the pile of mandates while we are trying to reduce it." Senator Griffo said the bill will also give the Mandate Relief Council a stronger role in policing mandates by allowing the council to have the power to conduct an expedited review of mandates that local governments believe are onerous burdens and eliminate those that add costs to local governments. He said that said the bill meets a need for Albany to be responsive to local governments that have done an outstanding job of reducing costs to stay within the 2% property tax cap, but have their hands tied by rising costs of state-mandated programs. "State mandated programs place local taxpayers and local officials in the position of paying for services that they do not control," he said. "State mandated programs allow the state rather than local officials to set priorities for the locality. In turn, this forces municipalities to levy more taxes on its residents in order to pay for these state mandated programs. My bill requires programs that originate from the state to be paid for by the state and not have the burden to find funding fall upon local municipalities. This bill seeks to protect local municipalities and school districts from unfunded mandates and allow local officials to set priorities for their own area."