Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) today hosted a press conference to highlight his new legislation, a comprehensive mandate relief package aimed at reducing the burdens of unfunded mandates for local governments; creating optional retirement plans for public employees and teachers; and limiting binding arbitration awards.
“Simply put, unresolved, state-imposed mandates are crippling our local communities and schools, forcing cuts to public services and raising taxes. Their continued presence is one of the contributing factors to our current state and local budget constraints. Unfunded mandates have accumulated over the decades and are not affordable,” said Fitzpatrick. “Immediate action is necessary to prevent further reductions to vital services that will negatively impact our taxpayers. We need meaningful reform of mandated programs that will result in real savings, rather than simply shifting the tax burden.”
The main component of Fitzpatrick’s package is a comprehensive bill to address mandated provisions that have placed tremendous financial burdens on local government budgets. The bill would modify the Triborough Amendment to eliminate automatic step-salary increases for public employees after the contract has expired. Provide a hard 2% cap on mandatory arbitration awards, which would mirror the cap passed in New Jersey in 2010. Require new employees to take a Defined Contribution Pension program, rather than the present Defined Benefit programs where the taxpayers are required to make up shortfalls in lean economic times.