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Cuomo's mandate relief nod gets thumbs up

A tax revolt? Local governments hope it won't come to that.
Jason Baker
via Flickr
A tax revolt? Local governments hope it won't come to that.

Hearing "property tax cap" in Governor Cuomo's State of the State did not come as a surprise. The 2 percent cap was a key plank of Cuomo's campaign platform.

During his State of the State address Wednesday Cuomo's unveiled a "transformational plan" for New York, including the cap.  State and local officials say they're happy to hear the property tax cap proposal being followed closely by the words "mandate reform." 

What are mandates?  They're the bills that counties and towns have to pay, without any say into how much the bill comes to, or when it comes due.  Medicaid is often cited as the biggest bogeyman.  Innovation Trail station WXXI is doing a whole series about mandates next week.

Municipalities have been calling for "mandate relief" for the past few years, as more and more expenses get pushed down from the federal and state government.  Cuomo has included plans for a statewide mandate relief team alongside the property tax cap, to respond to the concerns of local governments.

"Unfunded state mandates are root causes of property tax crisis facing in New York State," says Mark Lavigne, the spokesman for the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

So Lavigne says what he heard from Cuomo on Wednesday was good news.

"We need to couple property tax case with mandate relief and we believe that's what the governor said we are going to do" 

Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, who sits on the New York Council of Mayors task force on unfunded mandates, agrees.

"If you don't solve the problems in a comprehensive manner that helps all the federal, state and local governments, then you're just pushing the problems onto somebody else. You'll still have suffering," he notes.

Details on both the governor’s proposals should arrive in the coming weeks.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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