News from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb
Assembly Office:
933 Legislative Office Building • Albany, NY 12248 • (518) 455-3751
District Offices:
607 West Washington Street • Suite 2 • Geneva, NY 14456 • (315) 781-2030
69 South Street • Auburn, NY 13021 • (315) 255-3045

For Release: IMMEDIATELY, February 11, 2011
Doug Finch (315) 781-2030
Stop The Madness! Government's Unfunded Mandates And Over-Regulation Are Hurting Localities, Costing Taxpayers And Stifling Our Economy
Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)

Last Monday, I was invited to address the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) during their annual gathering in Albany. Having previously served in local government, and as the only Legislative Leader in state government who is talking about the urgent need for unfunded mandate relief, I was honored to again speak with friends at NYSAC.

My comments were a call to action for localities suffering under Albany's oppressive rules, regulations and red tape, along with their budget-busting price tag. Unfunded mandates occur whenever state government imposes rules that force local governments - a city, county, town, village or school district - to do something without providing any funding to pay for it. There aren't just "a few" of these rules, regulations and red tape - there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, here in the Empire State. Unfunded mandates include everything from asbestos management, school district paperwork, safety inspections, construction projects and just about every government program, policy and requirement you can think of - and even some you haven't!


While some of those obligated services may stem from "good intentions," they have nonetheless driven countless local governments and school districts to the verge of bankruptcy. City, county, town and village governments, to say nothing of local school districts, simply cannot afford to continue taking marching orders from the same folks in Albany who gave our state its $10 billion budget deficit. Unfunded mandates from Albany strain local budgets and lead to higher property taxes for local homeowners. Statistics prove this point:


As costly, confusing and cumbersome as Albany's unfunded mandates are, businesses operating in New York have it twice as bad; they must navigate another sticky web of complicated rules, regulations and red tape at the federal level. This regulatory web makes it even harder for companies to invest in their workforce and grow their operations. Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wrote that the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy has put the total price tag of complying with federal regulations at $1.75 trillion for 2008 (keep in mind that this was before the federal stimulus package or the new federal health care mandate). Folks, a trillion is a number with 12 zeroes behind it!


According to the Chamber, government compliance costs average out to approximately $15,500 for every American household. Also in 2008, the average regulatory cost to businesses was nearly $8,100 per employee and expenses are 36 percent higher for small businesses, which create 60 percent to 80 percent of all new jobs. Donohue also cited the Environmental Protection Agency's advancing 29 proposed major rules (and 173 others); the federal heath care law's creation of 183 new agencies, commissions, panels and other bodies; and the 2,400-page financial regulatory "reform" bill, which included almost 500 regulatory rule-makings, 60 studies and 93 reports.

Here's my question: how in the heck are private sector businesses - especially those operating here in New York State, where the cost of government is among the nation's highest - supposed to have the time and money to fill out all this paperwork, comply with all these government rules and still remain in business? It would take a miracle.


Local governments, taxpayers and businesses have had enough of this regulatory madness! They refuse to continue being saddled with every whim, every program, every desire that politicians in Albany, N.Y., or Washington D.C., feel like imposing without any consideration of costs. I couldn't agree more, which is why I'm advancing a legislative agenda that would ban new unfunded mandates from Albany and temporarily suspend existing unfunded mandates. I also support the federal government moving forward with a top-to-bottom review of all rules and regulations impacting businesses.

Our economy is so complex, and competition from countries like China and India is so intense, we can't afford government's costly and job-destroying over-regulation. New York State, and the United States of America, are competing in a global economy. It's time that government at all levels stopped hurting and started helping.

As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and informational updates regarding state government and our Assembly Minority Conference.

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