The New York State Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation this week that would require the state to fully fund the cost of new mandates placed on local governments (or the expansion of existing mandates).
The bill, S.3411 (sponsored by Senator Rich Funke of Monroe County), acknowledges that “State mandated programs, unlike local service decisions, place local taxpayers and local officials in the position of paying for services that they do not control,” and prohibits New York State from taking future actions that would “prevent localities from making their own decisions, and which force unwanted local property tax increases.”
The bill passed the Senate 52-6, unofficially.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and county officials across the state applauded the bill. Day noted unfunded mandates have been sabotaging county government ever since he’s been an elected official. The county now also makes it an internal practice to account for any funding required for new expenses by finding efficiencies elsewhere, he said.
It has taken years for local governments to chip away at the unfunded mandate problem. In the past the state would often pass on large new mandated costs to counties. Upon the advent of Governor Andrew Cuomo 2 percent tax cap, some further awareness was raised of how mandated state increases affect local budgets. The plan still needs to pass the state Assembly and be signed by governor before becoming law.