senate Bill S4477

Relates to real property tax relief and local government mandate reform

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 06 / Apr / 2011
    • REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Summary

Relates to real property tax relief and local government mandate reform; requires municipal corporations to consider the real property tax impacts of public employee contracts and relates to the arbitration panel's requirements when resolving disputes in the course of collective negotiations.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S4477
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Local Government
Law Section:
General Municipal Law
Laws Affected:
Add §25, Gen Muni L; amd §209, Civ Serv L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4477

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general municipal law and
the civil service law,
in relation to real property tax relief and local
government mandate reform

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill would add a new section 25
to the general municipal law and would amend section 209 of the civil
service law (the Taylor Law) to require that prior to its presentment
to the governing body of a municipal corporation, the public officer
of the municipal corporation who is legally responsible for signing a
collective bargaining agreement which contains any increase in wages
or benefits for public employees, must first consider whether signing
such contract would result in any increase to the municipal
corporation's real property tax levy. Such would equally require the
governing body of the municipal corporation to do the same. This bill
would further require the public Employee Relations Board, in their
determination as to whether to grant the remedy sought by an employee
association or the employee themself, that such board must also
consider prior to awarding such remedy, the ability of the public
employer to pay. Lastly this bill would also require that Public
Employees Relations Board hearings be open to the public.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 - Legislative findings and declarations.

Section 2 - Adds new §25 to the General Municipal Law stating that the
public officer of a municipal corporation responsible for signing a
collective bargaining agreement containing wage or benefit increases
for public employees must consider the effect of such increases on
the municipal corporation's real property tax levy and report the
potential increase. If an increase is approved, public notice must be
given for at least thirty days detailing the terms of the collective
bargaining agreement and the projected amount of the real property
tax levy increase.

Section 3 - Amends §209(4)(c) of the Civil Service Law to require
that public arbitration panel proceedings include public hearings and
that such panel shall consider the financial ability of the public
employer to pay as the most important factor in the collective
bargaining agreement.

Section 4 - Sets the enacting date.

JUSTIFICATION:
Real Property Taxes in New York State are too high, and the burden
they place upon citizens, homeowners and businesses, is making it
difficult for New York State to thrive, prosper and succeed. The only
way to realistically reduce the real property tax burden upon our
citizens, homeowners and businesses, is
to place a comprehensive approach in State law which controls costs
and spending for local governments, and provides significant mandate


relief with respect to their fiscal obligations. Real property tax
relief and local government mandate reform must be achieved by
establishing a comprehensive approach to reduce real property taxes
across the state, the controlling government costs, and providing
significant mandate relief to local governments.

In the event an impasse is reached in negotiations with a police or
firefighter union, the final step in the impasse resolution process
is the use of compulsory arbitration. An arbitration panel has
significant power and may issue an award which requires an increase
in taxes. However, such panel is not responsible for its award, is
not directly impacted by its decision, and is not accountable to
taxpayers. It could be argued that this lack of transparency and
accountability has had a negative impact on the arbitration process.
This legislation would require such panel to be subject to the Open
Meetings Law and also require the panel to present its determination
at a public meeting of the local legislative body.

In addition, the current binding arbitration statute has no definition
of its phrase "ability to pay." This bill would amend the statute to
require that an arbitration panel accord substantial weight to
"ability to pay" when making an award and the term should be defined
as the ability of a public employer to pay all economic costs to be
imposed on it by an arbitration award without requiring a reduction
in municipal services or an increase in the level of real property
taxes in existence for each year or years addressed by the award.

Finally, over the years that the compulsory arbitration law has been
in existence, many bargaining units have sought to rush to
arbitration and avoid substantive negotiations. This is especially
true in years when resources are scarce and inflation is low because
it is recognized that binding arbitration panels often disregard such
conditions. By limiting police and firefighter union access to this
process, this legislation would ensure that the option of going to
binding arbitration is not routinely used as a way to avoid good
faith negotiations.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
Unknown.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately, with provisions.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4477

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              April 6, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. MARTINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government

AN ACT to amend the general municipal law and the civil service law,  in
  relation  to  real  property  tax  relief and local government mandate
  reform

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.    Legislative findings and declarations.  The legislature
hereby finds and determines that real property taxes in New  York  state
are  too  high,  and  that the burden that they place upon our citizens,
homeowners and businesses, is making it difficult for New York state  to
thrive, prosper and succeed.
  The  legislature  further  finds  and  determines that the only way to
realistically reduce the real property tax  burden  upon  our  citizens,
homeowners and businesses, is to place a comprehensive approach in state
law  which  controls  costs  and  spending  for  local  governments, and
provides significant mandate relief with respect to their  fiscal  obli-
gations.
  The  legislature  finally  finds and determines that the real property
tax relief and local government mandate reform must  be  achieved  by  a
comprehensive  approach  to reduce real property taxes across the state,
the  controlling  of  governmental  employee  benefit  costs,  and   the
provision of significant mandate relief to local governments.
  S  2.  The general municipal law is amended by adding a new section 25
to read as follows:
  S 25. CONSIDERATION OF REAL PROPERTY TAX  LEVY  IMPACTS  OF  A  PUBLIC
EMPLOYEE  CONTRACT. 1. PRIOR TO ITS PRESENTMENT TO THE GOVERNING BODY OF
A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, THE PUBLIC OFFICER OF THE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION
WHO IS LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SIGNING A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
WHICH CONTAINS ANY INCREASE IN WAGES OR BENEFITS FOR  PUBLIC  EMPLOYEES,
SHALL  FIRST  CONSIDER WHETHER SIGNING SUCH CONTRACT WOULD RESULT IN ANY

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10506-01-1

S. 4477                             2

INCREASE TO THE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION'S REAL PROPERTY TAX LEVY.  IN  THE
EVENT THAT SUCH PUBLIC OFFICER ELECTS TO SIGN SUCH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
AGREEMENT,  HE  OR SHE SHALL, PRIOR TO THE PRESENTMENT OF SUCH AGREEMENT
FOR  APPROVAL BY THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, INFORM
SUCH GOVERNING BODY OF THE AMOUNT OF THE PROJECTED INCREASE IN THE  REAL
PROPERTY TAX LEVY THAT SUCH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT WOULD HAVE.
  2.  PRIOR  TO  TAKING  ANY  VOTE  TO APPROVE ANY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
AGREEMENT WHICH CONTAINS ANY INCREASE IN WAGES OR  BENEFITS  FOR  PUBLIC
EMPLOYEES,  THE  GOVERNING  BODY  OF A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION SHALL FIRST
CONSIDER WHETHER APPROVING SUCH CONTRACT WOULD RESULT IN ANY INCREASE TO
THE MUNICIPAL CORPORATION'S REAL PROPERTY TAX LEVY. IN  THE  EVENT  THAT
SUCH  GOVERNING BODY ELECTS TO APPROVE SUCH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREE-
MENT, THEY SHALL CAUSE TO HAVE POSTED ON THE OFFICIAL  WEBSITE  OF  SUCH
MUNICIPAL  CORPORATION,  IF  THE  MUNICIPAL CORPORATION MAINTAINS ONE, A
PUBLIC NOTICE FOR NOT LESS THAN THIRTY DAYS, DETAILING THE TERMS OF  THE
COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING AGREEMENT SO APPROVED, THE INCREASES IN WAGES AND
BENEFITS, THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE INCREASED EXPENDITURES  THE  MUNICIPAL
CORPORATION  WILL  HAVE  TO MAKE OVER THE TERM OF THE AGREEMENT, AND THE
PROJECTED AMOUNT OF THE REAL PROPERTY TAX LEVY INCREASE.
  S 3. Paragraph (c) of subdivision  4  of  section  209  of  the  civil
service law, as amended by chapter 216 of the laws of 1977, subparagraph
(iii)  as  amended  by  chapter 442 of the laws of 1995 and subparagraph
(vi) as amended by chapter 113 of the laws of 2006, is amended  to  read
as follows:
  (c)  (i)  upon  petition  of  either  party, the board shall refer the
dispute to a public arbitration panel as hereinafter provided;
  (ii) the public arbitration panel BE  CONSIDERED  A  PUBLIC  BODY  FOR
PURPOSES  OF  ARTICLE SEVEN OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW AND shall consist
of one member appointed by the public employer, one member appointed  by
the employee organization and one public member appointed jointly by the
public  employer  and employee organization who shall be selected within
ten days after receipt by the board of a petition for  creation  of  the
arbitration  panel. If either party fails to designate its member to the
public arbitration panel, the board shall promptly, upon  receipt  of  a
request  by either party, designate a member associated in interest with
the public employer or employee organization he is to represent. Each of
the respective parties is to bear the cost of its  member  appointed  or
designated  to  the arbitration panel and each of the respective parties
is to share equally the cost of the public member. If, within seven days
after the mailing date, the parties are unable to  agree  upon  the  one
public  member,  the  board shall submit to the parties a list of quali-
fied, disinterested persons for the  selection  of  the  public  member.
Each  party shall alternately strike from the list one of the names with
the order of striking determined by lot, until the remaining one  person
shall  be  designated  as public member. This process shall be completed
within five days of receipt of this list. The parties shall  notify  the
board of the designated public member. The public member shall be chosen
as chairman;
  (iii)  the  public arbitration panel shall hold PUBLIC hearings on all
matters related to the dispute. The  parties  may  be  heard  either  in
person, by counsel, or by other representatives, as they may respective-
ly  designate.  The  panel  may grant more than one adjournment each for
each party; provided, however, that a second request of either party and
any subsequent adjournments may be granted on request of  either  party,
provided  that  the  party  which requests the adjournment shall pay the
arbitrator's fee. The parties may present, either orally or in  writing,

S. 4477                             3

or  both,  statements  of fact, supporting witnesses and other evidence,
and argument of their respective positions with respect  to  each  case.
The  panel  shall have authority to require the production of such addi-
tional  evidence,  either  oral  or  written  as  it may desire from the
parties and shall provide at the request of either party that a full and
complete record be kept of any such hearings, the cost of such record to
be shared equally by the parties;
  (iv) all matters presented to the public  arbitration  panel  for  its
determination  shall be decided by a majority vote of the members of the
panel. The panel, prior to a vote on any issue  in  dispute  before  it,
shall, upon the joint request of its two members representing the public
employer  and  the  employee organization respectively, refer the issues
back to the parties for further negotiations;
  (v) the public arbitration panel shall  make  a  just  and  reasonable
determination  of  the  matters in dispute. In arriving at such determi-
nation, the panel shall CONSIDER, ABOVE ALL OTHER FACTORS, THE FINANCIAL
ABILITY OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYER TO PAY. THE PUBLIC EMPLOYER'S ABILITY  TO
PAY  SHALL  BE  DEFINED  AS  EXISTING  FISCAL CAPACITY WITHOUT RESORT TO
EITHER NEW OR INCREASED TAXATION INCLUDING,  BUT  NOT  LIMITED  TO,  THE
LEVEL OF TAXATION IN THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION COMPARED TO SIMILAR POLI-
TICAL  SUBDIVISIONS  IN  OTHER  AREAS  OF  THE  STATE, THE TAX BASE, ANY
EVIDENCE OF ECONOMIC DECLINE AND ANY OTHER APPLICABLE MEASURES OF FISCAL
DISTRESS, OR EXTRAORDINARY REDUCTIONS  IN  OTHER  GOVERNMENTAL  EXPENDI-
TURES. THE ARBITRATION PANEL SHALL ALSO CONSIDER THE COMPETING FINANCIAL
OBLIGATIONS  OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYER WHICH MAY BE AFFECTED BY SUCH DETER-
MINATION AND SPECIFICALLY THE IMPACT OF ANY SUCH  DETERMINATION  ON  THE
EXISTING  LEVEL  OF  MUNICIPAL  SERVICES  AND ON ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS OR
SUCCESSOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH EMPLOYEE  ORGANIZATIONS  REPRESENTING  OTHER
EMPLOYEES  OF  THE  PUBLIC EMPLOYER. THE ARBITRATION PANEL SHALL SPECIFY
ITS RATIONALE IN THE DETERMINATION, INCLUDING THE CONSIDERATION OF  SUCH
ABILITY  OF  THE  PUBLIC  EMPLOYER  TO  PAY  WITHOUT RESORTING TO NEW OR
INCREASED TAXATION. THE PANEL SHALL specify the basis for its  findings,
taking  into  SECONDARY consideration, in addition to any other relevant
factors, the following:
  a. comparison of the wages, hours and conditions of employment of  the
employees  involved in the arbitration proceeding with the wages, hours,
and conditions of  employment  of  other  employees  performing  similar
services  or  requiring  similar skills under similar working conditions
and with other employees generally in public and private  employment  in
comparable communities.
  b.  the GENERAL interests and welfare of the public [and the financial
ability of the public employer to pay];
  c.  comparison  of  peculiarities  in  regard  to  other   trades   or
professions,  including  specifically,  (1)  hazards  of employment; (2)
physical qualifications;  (3)  educational  qualifications;  (4)  mental
qualifications; (5) job training and skills; AND
  d.  the  terms of collective agreements negotiated between the parties
in the past providing for compensation and fringe  benefits,  including,
but  not limited to, the provisions for salary, insurance and retirement
benefits, medical and hospitalization benefits, paid time  off  and  job
security.
  (vi)  the  determination  of  the public arbitration panel shall, WHEN
EFFECTING A LOCAL GOVERNMENT, BE PRESENTED AT A REGULAR OR SPECIAL MEET-
ING OF THE LOCAL LEGISLATIVE BODY FOR  SUCH  GOVERNMENT,  AND  SHALL  be
final  and  binding  upon  the  parties for the period prescribed by the
panel, but in no event shall such  period  exceed  two  years  from  the

S. 4477                             4

termination  date  of any previous collective bargaining agreement or if
there is no previous collective bargaining agreement then for  a  period
not  to  exceed  two  years from the date of determination by the panel.
Such  determination  shall  not  be subject to the approval of any local
legislative body  or  other  municipal  authority.  Notwithstanding  the
provisions  of  this  subparagraph to the contrary, where the parties to
[a] THE public arbitration are those [anticipated by the  provisions  of
paragraphs  (e)  and  (f) of this subdivision the state and such parties
may agree to confer authority to the  public  arbitration  panel]  WHICH
BECAME  SUBJECT  TO  THIS  SUBDIVISION  BY VIRTUE OF CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED
FORTY-ONE OF THE LAWS OF NINETEEN HUNDRED NINETY-EIGHT, THE PUBLIC ARBI-
TRATION PANEL SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY to  issue  a  final  and  binding
determination  for  a  period  up  to  and including four years.   ADDI-
TIONALLY, UPON THE ISSUANCE OF SUCH  FINAL  DETERMINATION  BY  A  PUBLIC
ARBITRATION PANEL, NEITHER PARTY SHALL ELECT TO USE A PUBLIC ARBITRATION
PANEL  FOR  PURPOSES OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION UNTIL THE NEXT TWO SUCCEEDING
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS HAVE EXPIRED.
  (vii) the determination of  the  public  arbitration  panel  shall  be
subject  to  review  by  a court of competent jurisdiction in the manner
prescribed by law.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately; provided,  however,  that
the  amendments  to paragraph (c) of subdivision 4 of section 209 of the
civil service law made by section three of this act shall not affect the
expiration of such subdivision and shall be deemed to expire therewith.

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