“Taxes in New York kill jobs, take money from hard-working families, and drive entrepreneurs and businesses out of the state,” said Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport). “I am pleased to see Governor Paterson finally understands the manifest damage that sky-high local taxes do to our communities, and the explicit connection between spending mandates imposed by Albany and the budget-busting property taxes homeowners on Long Island are forced to pay. The governor has requested that heads of state agencies examine the costs associated with these unfunded mandates in order to reduce local taxes on Assembly Districts such as mine.
But department-level mandates are not the only problem; indeed, the overwhelming number of unfunded mandates is handed down by unaccountable politicians through legislative fiat. Setting limits on these mandate actions rather than focusing strictly on better cost-benefit estimates for state agencies is the key to lowering taxes for Long Islanders. We need reform now. A good way to begin reducing the local share of service costs on residents of the 9th Assembly District and others like it is to require that any state mandate imposed on a locality or a school district costing more than $10,000 annually or $1 million statewide be funded by the state. My colleagues in the Legislature should also require the fiscal impact of legislation to be stated before voting on a bill. While I applaud Governor Paterson for seeking ways to reduce the financial burden New York State routinely imposes on its local governments, we cannot solve our tax crisis by tinkering around the edges of this growing problem. Unfunded state mandate reform requires a meat cleaver, not a pair of tweezers.”