November 10, 2009

Assembly Approves Local Government
Mandate Relief Legislation

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Ways and Means Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr., announced today that the Assembly passed legislation in extraordinary session to ease the burden on local property taxpayers in the form of mandate relief for municipalities.

The legislation (Extraordinary Session Assembly Bill A.2) would reduce the cost of local government through state mandate-relief and increased flexibility for local governments to empower them to find operational efficiencies. Specifically, this bill would:

"Local taxpayers and municipalities, especially in the wake of this recession, have been burdened by unfunded state mandates," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "This builds upon a consolidation measure we passed earlier this year, which provides a comprehensive outline for the consolidation of local entities that are no longer cost-efficient. By affording municipalities more flexibility, savings in operational costs will be passed on to taxpayers."

"Over the last decade, the State of New York has taken a variety of steps to ease the burden of local property taxpayers," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "This legislation is another step closer to eliminating waste and reducing the property tax burden. By giving flexibility to our local governments and eliminating health insurer 'double-dipping,' we can pass on the more efficient and cost saving operations. The Assembly Majority continues to work to bring tax relief the smartest and most effective way possible."

"This legislation provides much-needed relief to property owners and local businesses, who have been disproportionately burdened by fiscal uncertainty and increasing tax rates," said Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo). "Entities will be empowered to consolidate their resources, and disallowing municipal employees and health insurers to 'double-dip' will streamline current law."

"My colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority recognize the need for mandate relief, and this legislation allows municipalities to effectively pool their resources to cut costs," said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn). "During these tough economic times, it is critical that we use all of our resources wisely."

Silver added, "The Assembly will continue to work with Governor Paterson and the Senate in the coming days on a deficit reduction plan to close this year's $3 billion budget gap."