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Griffo introduces bill to eliminate new unfunded mandates

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ALBANY — As promised, state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo has introduced legislation intended to eliminate future unfunded mandates to local governments and school districts.

“For too long, the state has solved its fiscal problems by passing the buck to county governments, cities, towns, villages and school districts,” Mr. Griffo, R-Rome, said in a release. “My bill is very plain common sense. When Albany passes a law or a new regulation, it has to provide the revenue to support the provision of whatever service is required. Enacting this law will allow Albany to be a good faith partner with local governments to help them reduce their costs and keep property taxes down.”

The Griffo bill, S1294, would amend both General Municipal Law and Education Law to ban any future mandates that do not supply funding to pay for delivering the services.

“This bill requires programs that originate from the state to be paid for by the state and not have the burden to find funding fall upon local municipalities,” the proposed legislation states. “This bill seeks to protect local municipalities and school districts from unfunded mandates and allow local officials to set priorities for their own area.”

Mr. Griffo said the bill would also authorize the state Mandate Relief Council to conduct an expedited review of mandates that local governments believe are onerous burdens and eliminate those that add costs to local governments.

While local governments have done an outstanding job of reducing costs to stay within the state’s 2 percent property tax cap, their hands have been tied by rising costs of state-mandated programs, he said.

Mr. Griffo also is calling for a moratorium on mandates until the legislation can become law.

“We all know the burden is too heavy already,” he said. “It would be wrong to add to the pile of mandates while we are trying to reduce it.”

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