Lower property tax hinges on mandate reform

We all know that New York State has high taxes. Unfortunately, since the recession hit, those taxes only increased, as the state Democratic leaders scurried for ways to pay for expenses, rather than trim spending. Subsequently, in the last two years, we've arrived at a one fiscal crisis after another at various intervals due to lack of cash in the general fund. Our state currently carries a $9 billion deficit.

Property owners, and anyone who interacts with state government in any way, have been asked to carry the burdens of pensions, Medicaid, education, public safety and healthcare. Our new governor has called for property tax relief. However, this cannot happen until mandate relief is put in place. I'm encouraged that Gov. Cuomo formed a "Mandate Relief Redesign Team." He announced this during the State of the State address and more details were revealed soon after with a Who's Who list of 23 people who I hope will propose various ways that the state can change its laws to save taxpayers money. The team consists of people from private business, education, labor and government who have been charged to "reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify mandates that are ineffective and outdated, and determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses," according to the Governor's office.

These are solutions I've advocated for in the past. Some are also supported by the New York State Association of Counties. I'm hopeful the redesign team proposes to apply the following and more to help cut costs and help the state spend within its means.

Enable schools to have greater freedoms in using taxpayers' money instead of being beholden to often outdated and nonsensical budgeting methods.

Enable counties to determine services for Medicaid recipients. According to the New York State Association of Counties, counties are mandated to deliver and fund approximately $7 billion of Medicaid costs annually.

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