ON THE RECORD: SENATOR RITCHIE DISCUSSES IDEAS FOR MANDATE RELIEF
Senator Patty Ritchie was interviewd on WRVO Public Radio on her idea to provide additional mandate relief for local taxpayers by addressing the problem of state prisoners currently being held in local county jails.
Senator Ritchie has written to the Commissioner of Corrections and Community Supervision to ask that he use underfilled state prisons, such as the Watertown Correctional Facility at Dry Hill, to hold state parole violators who are being housed in overstocked county jails in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties.
Holding the state prisoners in local facilities is costing county taxpayers over $2 million a year, according to the sheriffs in those counties.
The parole violator issue has been raised by Senator Ritchie before, and is the subject of legislation she's introduced and passed (twice) in the Senate.
Senator Ritchie has been a leader on the issue of mandate relief for local taxpayers.
The 2012-13 budget included a series of measures to reduce costs for localities. The Medicaid and pension reform portions of that mandate relief package, alone, will save $26.5 million over five years for taxpayers in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties.
An additional $19.4 million in state school aid secured by Senator Ritchie is helping to hold the line on local property taxes, on top of savings for homeowners from enactment of the state's new Property Tax Cap, which Senator Ritchie championed.
Additionally, Senator Ritchie is the only lawmaker to name a special panel of local officials to study additional ways to save tax dollars. The panel has issued two reports, here and here, and many of the recommendations ahve been enacted into law.
Click on any of the above links for more information on Senator Ritchie's mandate relief efforts.