NYS Senator, Assemblyman Join To Tackle Unfunded Mandates

Aug 1, 2013

Credit WAMC/Allison Dunne

A state senator and assemblyman, both from the Hudson Valley, say they have a bipartisan solution to curb unfunded mandates. They also say they are banding together as outsiders and want their constituents to know about it.

About three months ago, Democratic state Senator Terry Gipson proposed a state constitutional amendment to prohibit certain unfunded mandates. He says the measure is a bold one.

He says making the case for his bill is stronger, now that he has found a partner in the Assembly – Republican Kieran Lalor.

Both say it is time for municipalities to have the option to choose whether an unfunded mandate would be implemented, and require the state to fund mandates too costly to bear. In addition to partnering on a constitutional amendment, Gipson and Lalor co-authored an op-ed piece in The Poughkeepsie Journal Thursday. Here’s Gipson.

Lalor says he considers the op-ed a powerful tool.

Gipson says that although the programs of many unfunded mandates are worthwhile, local governments and school districts cannot continue to shoulder the financial burden, and some are on the brink of insolvency or with large budget deficits.

Lalor says not aspiring to be a career politician enables him to introduce such a bill.

Gipson notes that to drum up support for his bill, he has asked all the school districts and local governments in his district to sponsor resolutions in support of his bill he can take with him to Albany to better make his case.

It is not the first time the Gipson and Lalor are standing side by side. They did so in May, sponsoring a bill in their respective chambers on term limits.