The New York State Senate today passed legislation to prevent local governments and taxpayers from being burdened by unfunded mandates. The bill (S1347), sponsored by Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport), helps prevent possible property tax increases or cuts to existing services by requiring the state to fund mandated programs that come at an additional cost for municipalities or school districts.
Senator Funke said, “The spending that Albany mandates on local governments and school districts is the top reason our property taxes are among the highest in the nation. Incredibly, just a handful of state mandates ate up nearly every property tax dollar collected in New York last year. Since our unfunded mandate prohibition passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, I hope the Assembly will also act to protect local taxpayers and quality of life services as soon as possible.”
State-mandated programs place unnecessary stress on taxpayers and local officials for services they don’t control. When the state sets local priorities and forces municipal taxing decisions by mandating services, programs, and standards, many local governments and school districts are forced to make difficult choices such as increasing property taxes or cutting back on other services and programs.
This measure prevents future unfunded mandates from negatively affecting local finances and driving up property taxes by requiring the state to assume the costs. It would make it easier for local governments to stay within the highly successful property tax cap and provide further relief to local taxpayers.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.