Sen. Ritchie names local panel to identify costly regulations and mandates on local governments, schools
State Senator Patty Ritchie has named members to a Mandate Relief Working Group she has created to identify state regulations that are ineffective, overly burdensome and costly to taxpayers.
The panel, made up of representatives from county, village and town governments and school districts, will offer recommendations on programs that New York State requires of local governments that, in their opinion, need to be abolished or changed to help local governments reduce costs.The working group will be co-chaired by Jefferson County's Clayton Town Supervisor Justin Taylor and St. Lawrence County Legislator Kevin Acres of Madrid.
Members will include Oswego Town Supervisor Vicki Mullen, Fulton School Superintendent William Lynch, Former St. Lawrence County Legislature Finance Chair Peter FitzRandolph of Canton, South Jefferson Central School Superintendent Jamie Moesel, Lacona Mayor Peggy Manchester, Jefferson County Legislator Scott Gray, and Heuvelton School Board President Jack Zeh.
“Local government officials and school officials across Central and Northern New York have told me they need real mandate relief from state regulations so they can cut their costs to taxpayers,” Ritchie said.
“During the recent legislative session, I helped cut $127 million in mandates, but we all recognize we need to do more. My council will consult with local governments and school districts to develop a list of common sense changes.”
Ritchie, a first-term state senator from Heuvelton, represents a district that extends from Oswego County to the eastern portion of St. Lawrence County that includes Ogdensburg, Gouverneur and Canton.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo is developing a statewide Mandate Relief Council," Ritchie said in her announcement. "When it begins meeting, I want to have a list of recommendations that we can submit so that the interests and concerns of communities across Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence County are taken into account. I’ll also take these recommendations to the Senate to see if we can introduce legislation to help relieve these burdens on taxpayers.”
The members of the working group will serve as contacts for local governments to offer their own recommendations on common sense mandate relief.
In announcing the mandate relief panel, Ritchie cited some statistics about property taxes. She said:
• New York has the highest local taxes in America as a percentage of personal income - 79 percent above the national average
• New York has the second highest combined state and local taxes in the nation
• median property taxes paid by New Yorkers are 96 percent above the national median
• property tax levies in New York grew by 73 percent from 1998 to 2008 - more than twice the rate of inflation during that period
• when property taxes were measured as a percentage of home value in 2009, nine out of the top ten counties in the nation were all in Upstate New York.