Mandates still cost taxpayers

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors is right to keep drawing attention to the high costs state mandates place on local taxpayers.

We just hope they have better results this year than they have in the past.

The board recently declared May to be “Mayday for Mandate Relief,” urging the state to adopt laws that prohibit unfunded mandates on local governments.

A resolution passed by the supervisors calls upon lawmakers in Albany to enact legislation preventing future mandates without corresponding aid to pay for them.

As the resolution noted, counties are mandated to administer and finance dozens of state and federal programs.

This has a big influence on local budgets. About 78 percent of Fulton County’s tax levy is spent meeting the county’s obligations to nine state mandates.

Even employees in local governments feel the effect of unfunded mandates.

Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene noted he was a longtime county department head. Greene, former director of the probation department, said the state instructs county departments to do more while reducing their state revenues by 2 percent to 4 percent.

Over the years, officials in county governments have often pointed to state mandates as a significant problem that causes property taxes to rise.

Yet, sadly, they have not been able to substantially alter the state’s habit of placing unfunded mandates on local governments.

Voters should hold state officials accountable for mandate relief – or the lack thereof.