Fitzpatrick: Unfunded Mandate Relief Would Make Homeownership In New York More Affordable

Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) recently attended a joint budget hearing on housing. Fitzpatrick emphasized that affordability is the biggest issue facing taxpayers and small-business owners.

“One of the biggest barriers to homeownership in New York is the cost of property taxes, and the governor has done little to address the problem,” said Fitzpatrick. “The governor has proposed that the state take responsibility for cost growth on certain unfunded state mandates, however, it’s not enough. I sponsor legislation that actually reduces the burden of unfunded state mandates. Unfunded mandate relief must be enacted to reduce property taxes, make our communities more affordable and prosperous, and enable municipalities to invest in services where they are needed most.”

According to information from the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), just nine unfunded state mandates have serious implications on local governments. These nine mandates cost taxpayers more than $12 billion annually, and those mandates alone consume roughly 99 percent of local property taxes collected.

Fitzpatrick’s mandate relief bill, A.2701, addresses the most pressing mandates faced by local governments. The legislation would cap binding arbitration awards at two percent, require newly-hired employees to participate in the same defined contribution retirement plan used by the State University of New York (SUNY), and modify the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law, which governs public employees, to suspend automatic pay increases, known as step increases, when labor contracts expire. His legislation also would place a moratorium on any new unfunded state mandates.