Westchester Legislators Send 13 Legislative Priorities To Albany

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The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a joint package of legislative items to be considered by state lawmakers recently.
The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a joint package of legislative items to be considered by state lawmakers recently. Photo Credit: Westchester County Legislators Facebook

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Board of Legislators  passed a resolution outlining a joint package of 13 Legislative items to be submitted for consideration by the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the current session of the state Legislature.

The joint legislative package, which is submitted annually, was passed by the County Board on Monday, Feb. 24, and represents measures that Westchester legislators have identified as being of particular importance or urgency. As in recent years, most of the legislative items submitted for consideration deal with the overarching issue of unfunded mandates and mandate relief.

One item that addresses mandate relief directly, entitled, "Provide Mandate Relief" urges the passage by the State Legislature of A.4861/S.1294A, which would require 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.

"As county governments are continually forced to balance budgets despite unfunded state mandates, it is critically important that we push our state legislators to change state law to be fairer to the counties," County Board Vice Chair Jim Maisano (R-New Rochelle) said in a statement. "My fellow county legislators and I are strongly committed to lobbying our state representatives to put an end to these crushing unfunded mandates and make sure the state properly funds the laws its passes."

State mandates addressed throughout the county's joint legislative package include Medicaid, Public Assistance Safety Net, Child Welfare Protective and Preventive Care, Special Education Pre-School, Early intervention, Probation, Indigent Defense, Youth Detention and prisons.

The package also calls for the repeal of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax for municipal governments.

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We need to make sure that people receiving services today do not lose them because they are now passed back to the state who turns around and says there is no money in the budget to support this and cuts the program. Its going to cost us one way or another. I wish I had a good solution to offer...

It only stands to reason that unfunded mandates should not become the burden of local municipalities. It's all too easy to for the state to pass laws without taking into the consideration that we have to shoulder the cost of implementing them.