Counties Applaud Senate Bill Aimed to Curb Unfunded Mandates

A Statement by Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties

Today, the NYS Senate passed legislation that protects property taxpayers in New York State. The bill (S.3144, Funke/A.4942, Walter) will help local governments and school districts stay under the tax cap in the future because it requires the state to take fiscal responsibility for the programs they enact.

Unfunded and underfunded mandates consume most, if not all, of the property tax levy in counties across the state. Having the state assume responsibility for the new programs and services it wishes to provide New Yorkers is an important first step towards stabilizing and lowering property taxes at the local level.

Currently, statewide county property tax levy is about $4.9 billion. With an expected 1 percent inflation factor in 2016, the expected growth in the cost of state mandates will far exceed the allowable growth (under $50 million) in county tax levies for 2016.

NYSAC and other local government organizations have long called for an end to new unfunded mandates and we welcome the Senate’s critical step to achieve this goal. The Association of Counties, and the 62 counties they represent, urge the Assembly to enact this important taxpayer relief legislation.

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