Albany Offers Mostly Small Swings At Massive Mandate Problem
Unfunded mandates, they might be the biggest reason your property taxes are so high.
Everyone – well, everyone outside of the Governor’s office at least – knows that Albany’s biggest contribution to New York’s high property taxes are unfunded mandates.
Plans like the Governor’s shared services push are more about show than addressing rampant costly property tax bills that keep New Yorkers struggling to get ahead.
Around 65 percent of county spending goes toward mandates. Medicaid is usually the biggest cost driver. It only takes 9 big state mandates – out of 40 identified – to eat up most counties entire property tax intake (New York Association of Counties).
While the Governor hasn’t pitched any ideas reform unfunded mandates this session. The legislature has a number of measures proposed, though their prospects aren’t particularly rosy.
Two proposals offer big steps toward relief for overburdened New Yorkers.
One bill would hit pause on out-of-control mandates with a three-year moratorium on any new mandates that carried a significant cost. These measures would have to be reviewed. It won’t mean much relief, but at least tries to stop the bleeding. New Yorkers could really use a rule that forced elimination of an old mandate before a new one was added.
Real relief comes in the form of a bill that would end the practice of unfunded mandates by forcing the state to provide for costs (except in certain circumstances).
A final noteworthy proposal that would force legislators and the Governor to approve mandates, so you could at least add an additional layer of accountability to the process.
In the end, it’s people who pay big property taxes bills that need to demand Albany get serious about these reforms. Don’t miss your chance to remind them you’re paying attention and will demand mandate reform.
An entire session with little effort from the legislature to fix this major driver of New York’s affordability crisis is simply not acceptable.