ALBANY –Senator Catharine Young’s (R,C,I- 57th District) legislation to reduce the local property tax burden and unfunded mandates by providing 100 percent state aid to cover the increase in the county district attorneys’ salaries passed the Senate today.
Senator Young’s bill (S.7408) ensures that the state absorbs the approximate $30,000 per county increase in District Attorney salaries, which were mandated in a package that included increases to judicial salaries by the State Commission of Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Compensation.
Having the state pay for the cost of the salary increase was originally raised by the Senate Republican Majority during the budget hearing and negotiations.
“This measure is about protecting property taxpayers. Our local county governments deserve better control over their own finances, and this bill provides relief so that they can pass along that savings to residents and businesses. State government can absorb these costs much easier than local governments, and there’s a tradition of us helping counties pay a district attorney’s salary, because they are outside of local control,” said Senator Young.
“By passing mandate relief for our communities, we are making New York State a more affordable place to live and work. I strongly urge my colleagues in the state Assembly to pass this measure so that the savings can be felt this year,” Senator Young said.
When the raises for the state’s judges were set last year, a comparable increase was also required for full-time local district attorneys. The state’s judicial system addressed the increase for judges when it set its own budget. However, funding for the additional costs for district attorneys was not included in the governor’s original proposal, or the final state budget.
In 2015, New York State covered about 50 percent of local district attorneys’ salaries, with the respective county’s budget covering the remaining salary costs. However, by not providing for additional aid in this year’s state budget, counties are absorbing a 15 percent increase without any additional assistance from Albany.
In April, Senator Young wrote to Governor Cuomo requesting that the additional costs be reimbursed by the state, for each county experiencing an increase. When incorporated into the total state budget, the cost of approximately $1.6 million represents about .001 percent of this year’s enacted budget.