Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D,I-Cheektowaga) announced that the Assembly passed legislation that will provide relief for mandates placed on municipalities. This sweeping legislation will streamline services in New York State which will decrease wasteful spending and save taxpayers millions of dollars (A40002).
“This bill seeks to reform several areas that are in need of mandate relief,” said Assemblyman Gabryszak. “In a time when New York State is facing a budget deficit that is over $3 billion, we need to examine what parts of our government services can be streamlined in order to make them operate more efficiently. This legislation does exactly that.”
The legislation covers a variety of areas, including:
- Health insurance. Reduce the number of municipal corporations participating in a cooperative health benefit plan from five to three, extending cooperative health benefits to more New Yorkers.
- Collateral and subrogation. Prohibit public employees and insurance companies collecting from a wrongdoer for damages that were otherwise covered by insurance. The measure would also restrict the right of a health insurer to make a claim against their insurer to recover monies paid out by the health insurer.
- Multi-county health districts. Consolidate the position of public health director by allowing one public health director to serve more than one county. Also, the Department of Health will be required to periodically review approved director and board sharing arrangements to verify that such joint membership continues to serve the interest of public health.
Assemblyman Gabryszak explained that “these reforms are needed not only to save taxpayers money but to stop the unfair practice of insurers collecting damages from the wrongdoer while the injured party cannot.” He went on to say “this bill stops the costly practice of individual’s double dipping while simultaneously allowing a plaintiff to recover the damages they were awarded.”
In addition to health-related mandate relief, the legislation addresses procurement and municipal bond bank agency reform, as well as measures to improve coordination of state and local highway services:
- Procurement. Increase the local competitive bidding thresholds for all contracts for public work involving an expenditure of more than $20,000 to $35,000.
- Municipal Bond Bank Agency (MBBA). Allow MBBA to purchase municipal bonds for public improvements provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
- State and local highway services. Give greater oversight to the state Department of Transportation and also authorizes and expands shared municipal/state services, including right-of-way maintenance, drainage systems, landscaping and mowing. It also allows for lengthening the term of state and local agreements for snow and ice removal on state highways from a term of three or five years.
“The purpose of this legislation is not only to save money but also to help Western New York’s working families by decreasing the amount our state spends which in turn will bring down taxes”, said Assemblyman Gabryszak. He went on to say, “Legislation which streamlines and consolidates services is necessary to reign in state spending. By passing mandate relief reform we are helping New York’s government to run more efficiently and in turn this will save taxpayers money.”