Hudson Valley News
1:04 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

They Make a Plea for More Mandate Relief

NYS Senator Greg Ball (front left), Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (front right)
Credit Courtesy of Greg Ball

More than a dozen, local elected officials stood with New York State Senator Greg Ball Thursday, urging state lawmakers to pass a comprehensive mandate relief package. They say without mandate relief beyond what Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed in his 2013-2014 budget, municipalities, and school districts will go broke. They assembled at Yorktown Town Hall in Westchester. Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was there.

And here’s Republican Senator from Putnam County Greg Ball.

He is renewing his call for a comprehensive unfunded mandate relief package he says was ready to go two years ago, and in which 300 items await a yea or nay.

Westchester’s Astorino said pension costs are just one example of why staying afloat is difficult.

Officials from the New York State Association of Counties have said that while there are no new state resources set aside to ease the financial burden of state mandates in the proposed budget, Governor Cuomo continues to recognize the fiscal pressures on counties. Here’s Cuomo delivering his proposed budget last month.

But Ball, Astorino, and the others assembled Thursday, say that is not enough; that as good a job as the governor has done in the past two years, a bolder approach is now needed.

Mary Beth Murphy is the Supervisor of the Town of Somers, in northern Westchester. She agrees with her fellow Republicans and others that unfunded mandates are choking town budgets, and gives an example.

The Arlington Central School District is in Dutchess County, and Neil Martin is the School Board President.

Senator Ball, who represents the 40th State Senate District, covering parts of Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties says without more expansive mandate relief, residents will leave New York in search of tax relief.

In response, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the Mandate Relief Council Larry Schwartz, in a statement, pointed to the governor’s new measures in this year’s budget to help localities realize savings.

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