The problem of unfunded mandates in New York is decades-old, and there are many organizations that have been working over the years to recommend solutions.
Mandate Relief Team
Governor Cuomo commissioned a Mandate Relief Team to provide recommendations on mandate relief. The team worked for over a year and issued two reports. Their high level recommendation was to prohibit unfunded and underfunded mandates by statute now and by constitutional amendment later.
- Preliminary Report dated March 2011
- Final Report dated December 2011
- Times Union article about the Final Report, dated 12/26/2011, “Cuomo’s mandate relief team report boasts of “small” progress“
The Governor has also proposed some actions toward mandate relief in his 2012-13 Executive Budget. He launched a new website, Building a New NY, to help build support for his proposals.
New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC)
The mission of NYSAC is to represent, educate and advocate for Member Counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. They inform government officials and the public at large on issues of importance to county governments. They are a bi-partisan organization since they represent all 62 counties of New York. Since unfunded mandates are a major issue at the county level due to the impact on property taxes, NYSAC has been very active in educating the public and providing recommendations for mandate relief. Three very good reports are as follows:
- The County Call to Cut Property Taxes in NYS dated December 2010
- Reforming Mandates, Reducing Costs dated February 2011
- State Programs Funded By County Taxes dated December 2011
Let NY Work
Let NY Work is a coalition of eleven prominent business, local government and educational organizations. They launched a new, comprehensive initiative to advance significant mandate relief. The effort, Let New York Work: A Common Agenda for the Common Good, consists of six key measures that will provide relief from mandates faced by all New Yorkers.
The Empire Center
The Empire Center for New York State Policy, a project of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, is dedicated to promoting freedom, opportunity and enterprise in the Empire State. Through research papers, policy briefings, commentaries and conferences, the Empire Center seeks to educate and inform New York State policymakers, news media and the general public. Some of their documents are linked below:
- Triborough Trouble: How an Obscure state law guarantees pay hikes for government employees – and raises the tax toll on New Yorkers
- New York State’s Property Tax Cap: A Citizen’s Guide
- Optimal Option: SUNY’s Personal Retirement Plan As a Model for Pension Reform
State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
The State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau wrote a bulletin summarizing developments relating to state and federal mandates. It provides a comparison of how other states currently control and finance mandated programs and outlines recent changes regarding unfunded mandates at the federal level. In Wisconsin, this topic has been studied since 1980, and the legislature’s recent efforts to provide mandate relief for local governments are described in detail.
- Funding State and Federal Mandates, Informational Bulletin 96-3, April 1996