Palmesano Urges Cuomo to Include Vital Mandate Relief in Budget

Sends formal letter to governor requesting action on unfunded mandate reform

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I – Corning) is once again calling on Governor Cuomo to include a significant mandate relief package for local governments and school districts in his executive budget proposal, which will be presented Jan. 17. Palmesano wrote the governor a letter in November outlining the importance of immediate and effective mandate relief for local governments and school districts.

“Our local governments and school districts need significant mandate relief to comply with the new property tax cap. Governor Cuomo promised mandate relief would be forthcoming after the tax cap was approved and now is the time for him to deliver on that promise. That is why I wrote to the governor formally voicing my opinion on the matter,” said Palmesano. “I cannot stress enough how important it is for Governor Cuomo to honor his promise and include a significant and meaningful mandate relief package in his executive budget.”

Medicaid, pensions, and other cost-drivers mandated by Albany continue to drive up local budgets and property taxes for homeowners and businesses, noted Palmesano.

Nine state-mandated programs comprise more than 90 percent of county governments’ local property tax levies. “Counties have no say in the operation, direction or control of these programs,” the assemblyman noted. “They just receive a substantial bill and are told to pay it. New York is the only state which requires county governments to pay for a significant portion of its overall Medicaid costs.”

Last year, Governor Cuomo traveled across the state calling for a property tax cap which eventually passed. “However, as I pointed out in my letter to the governor, without real mandate relief, the property tax cap will not be effective,” said Palmesano.

He noted several pieces of legislation which he co-sponsors to address the Medicaid issue. Assembly Bill A.8453, which he sponsors with Senator Tom O’Mara, would effectively freeze the local share of Medicaid costs, saving counties and taxpayers $180 million per year. The assemblyman also cited bipartisan legislation, Assembly Bill A.8644, which would freeze, then phase-in a gradual state takeover over eight years of the local costs of Medicaid for county governments, a significant portion of the unfunded mandate burden. Another Assembly bill, A.8447, introduced by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb ( R-C-I – Canandaigua), entitled the Taxpayer Protection and Mandate Relief Act, provides a comprehensive relief package to address major cost drivers to school districts and local governments. Palmesano is a cosponsor on this legislation.

“Including mandate relief in his executive budget would significantly increase the probability for actual passage of these needed reforms,” Palmesano said. “As a result, the costs to local governments and school districts would be decreased, and, ultimately, property taxpayers would be subjected to less taxes,” said Palmesano.

“Governor Cuomo must lead on this issue for it to become a reality,” he continued. “He must take a strong stance, fulfill his promise, and finally deliver needed mandate relief for local governments, school districts and property taxpayers.”