Talk about mandate relief
State lawmakers say they are making progress when it comes to finalizing a deal on the state budget, and might get it passed on time.
Unfortunately, though, the budget they are talking about sounds like it will lack something important: mandate relief for local taxpayers.
According to reports, state lawmakers are haggling over key budget details, specifically, which programs will get funding – and how much.
The list of ideas being debated includes: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s property-tax freeze, prekindergarten funding, financial aid to students living illegally in the country and public campaign financing.
Sadly, it appears actual mandate relief has been largely forgotten – again.
Remember: About 78 percent of Fulton County’s tax levy is spent meeting the county’s obligations to nine state mandates.
And that’s just the county. Other municipalities – from towns to school districts – are paying for mandates the state could ease or eliminate.
We should note there has been some progress on the mandate front. For example, the state has taken over the growth in the local share of Medicaid costs, the state in 2012 created a new pension tier to save local governments and schools money, and the state made changes to the early intervention program in 2012-13 to save localities money.
However, as that 78 percent figure mentioned above attests, the state still has a long way to go.
While there is always support for an on-time budget, we’d support a late budget if it included significant mandate relief.