Monthly Archives: May 2012

SIGN THE BEST4NY MANDATE RELIEF PETITION

BEST4NY has launched an online Mandate Relief Petition addressed to our state government. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ AND SIGN THE MANDATE RELIEF PETITION or f

ollow this link directly to the signature page: Sign the petition The 1200+ (as of today) signatures include the New York State School Board Assocation; NYS Assemblymen Robert Castelli, Steve McLaughlin, Steve Katz, Ray Walter, Jane Corwin; and many elected school and town board members around NYS. Other endorsing organizations are New Yorkers for Growth, American for Prosperity (NY Chapter), and Unshackle Upstate. Further details in the post below.

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LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS DISCUSS THEIR DESPERATE NEED FOR MANDATE RELIEF AT BEST4NY’S PUBLIC FORUM ON JUNE 11, 2012

On June 11, 2012, BEST4NY held a public forum and information meeting in Hastings-on-Hudson entitled “HOW STATE MANDATES AFFECT CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS  AND DRIVE UP THE COST OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN NYS.”  The following panelists discussed various aspects of the NYS Legislature’s failure to grant meaningful mandate relief:

Paul Feiner – Supervisor, Town of Greenburgh

Eileen Baecher – President, Board of Education Hastings-on-Hudson School District

Niki Armacost-Trustee, Hastings-On-Hudson

Francis Frobel, Hastings-on-Hudson Village Manager

Vincent Toomey- Attorney, Labor & Employment Law

“Last year I had to do something for the first time that I had nightmares about, I had to lay people off,” said Supervisor Feiner.  “Mandates are forcing government to destroy people’s lives.”

Press coverage is HERE

Watch the event:   Part 1 – Introduction and first 11 minutes                  Part 2

County, school, and municipal elected officials throughout NYS desperately need mandate relief.  They are drowning in the Legislature’s red ink and are forced to lay off workers and cut local programs and services in order to pay for NYS’s excessive and unsustainable spending.   The Legislature’s no mandate relief policy is a policy of spoiling the favored child (mandated spending) and starving the orphan (local spending).  Local county, school, and town budgets have two parts – local spending and state mandated spending.  By imposing the tax cax without mandate relief, the Legislature forces local government to destroy local people’s lives - local property taxes are applied to  the Legislature’s unsustainable and excessive state spending.”

Because the Legislature’s mandated spending is dispersed and hidden in county, school, and town budgets, voters and community members typically do not realize the extent of the problem and  the Legislature’s responsibility for it.   Local officials are caught in the middle.     BEST4NY recommends that voters and local elected officials through NYS organize mandate relief forums and information meetings in their own communities to inform their neighbors and mobilize public support.  Voters need to create a new mandate relief majority in the NYS Legislature - one Senator and one Assemblyman at a time – either by pressuring incumbents to change their positions or by electing new legislators.

Incumbent Senators and Assemblymen and candidates can use BEST4NY’s Mandate Relief petition as a vehicle to inform the public and to give legislators a MANDATE FOR MANDATE RELIEF by encouraging voters to sign the petition.   Supervisor Feiner and Board President Baecher and many other elected officials have signed.

Please contact us if you would like assistance in organizing your own Mandate Relief forum.

NYS ASSEMBLYMAN STEVE KATZ'S and LOCAL ELECTED LEADERS URGE MANDATE RELIEF AT PRESS CONFERENCE

See this terrific video of NYS Assemblyman Steve Katz's Mandate Relief Press Conference on May 18, 2012. Assemblyman Katz has signed BEST4NY's online Mandate

Relief Petition. In this video, he and several local elected officials do a masterful job of explain

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ing the mandate relief problem facing NYS. More and more local elected officials are no longer willing to take it any more. Officials with him were:

MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive

Mike Griffin, Patterson Town Supervisor supervisor@pattersonny.org

Warren Lucas, North Salem Town Supervisor wlucas@northsalemny.org

Jim Langlois, Superintendent of Westchester/Putnam BOCES jlanglois@pnwboces.org

Thomas Manko, Mahopac School Superintendent mankot@email.mahopac.k12.ny.us

Jane Sandbank, Brewster School Superintendent Phone (845) 279-8000 jsandbank@brewsterschools.org

There is a huge disconnect in New York State between local elected officials (school and town board members, Supervisors, Mayors, County legislators) who desperately want mandate relief and voters who don't understand that fact. Because voters don't understand what their local leaders want, voters can't help. But voter awareness is growing, because local leaders are speaking out more, as in this press conference, and also because the Legislature's withholding of mandate relief is igniting a statewide explosion of teacher layoffs and local service cutbacks.

The mandate problem is easy to understand in general terms. As Renssalaear County Executive Jimino explain so well, it’s like 3 people going out for dinner, 2 order burgers to save money, but the 3rd orders a bottle of wine and surf and turf and then insists on splitting the bill 3 ways. Emphasizing mandate complexity is one way the Legislature deflects efforts to fix things. Asking voters to tell the Legislature which mandate to cut is a divide and conquer strategy that also deflects and frustrates mandate relief. The Legislature did not ask local governments which local spending cuts they preferred before imposing the tax cap. Imposing the tax cap shifted to local government the hard and divisive job of figuring out what and how much local spending to cut.

The Legislature needs to accept the same hard responsibility it forced upon local governments and apply the tax cap to its own, mandated state spending which it has hidden in local budgets. Whenever the Legislature speaks about its state budget restraint, voters must not be distracted and must ask, “Why aren't you counting your off-state-budget, fiscally irresponsible mandated spending as well?”

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has said (see video) that “Albany legislators are spending addicts.” When the Legislature reduces its state budget spending, but allows its mandated state spending hidden in local budgets to escalate uncontrollably, it's a case of spending addicts reducing their public drinking, while continuing to drink to excess in private.

Assemblyman Katz and the other elected officials appearing with him deserve great praise for their leadership in this critical effort of Mandate Relief.

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SIGN BEST4NY’S MANDATE RELIEF PETITION AND UNITE WITH THE NYSSBA, THE NEW YORK STATE SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION (no. 114), 5 NYS ASSEMBLYMEN, AND LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS

BEST4NY has launched an online Mandate Relief Petition addressed to our state government. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ AND SIGN THE MANDATE RELIEF PETITION or fol

l

ow this link directly to the signature page: Sign the petition The 1100+ (as of today) signatures include the NYSSBA; NYS Assemblymen Robert Castelli, Steve McLaughlin, Steve Katz, Ray Walter, Jane Corwin; and many elected school and town board members around NYS. Other endorsing organizations are New Yorkers for Growth, American for Prosperity (NY Chapter), and Unshackle Upstate.

Last May 15, NYS voters voted on local school budgets. Voters and school boards (and town boards and county legislatures) tend to focus on the here and now and are very unhappy about teacher layoffs occurring across NYS. But the current layoffs are the tip of the iceberg – ask your school board to be honest about their future layoff projections, if nothing is done to curb the Layoff Legislature’s uncontrolled mandated spending. Bedford Central School District last March courageously projected future cuts of 70 staff positions ANNUALLY, unless things change. The NYS Legislature has become the T.U.A., the Teachers’ Unemployment Agency.

To limit uncontrolled state spending and reduce the teacher layoffs you’ll be voting on next year, Sign the petition . Voter inaction is forfeiting the game and perpetuates the destructive status quo. Multiply your effort simply by asking a spouse, family member, friend, or neighbor to sign as well (2 people should not sign on the same line – that only counts as one signature). Follow the example of the New York State School Boards Association which represents over 700 school boards and 5,000 school board members across NYS and which signed the petition on line no. 114.

And finally, call or email your school board and town board to support their efforts and need for Mandate Relief. Join forces with them to inform and mobilize your local voters to insist upon meaningful mandate reform from the majority of NYS Senators and Assemblymen who oppose mandate relief.

Ask your local board members to sign the petition also – they are voters, too, and for years the Legislature has ignored their requests for mandate relief. The local spending cuts imposed by your local officials are driven by the Layoff Legislature’s escalating spending. After limiting local government spending, but not its own spending, the Layoff Legislature should not escape accountability by camouflaging its spending in local budgets and hiding behind local officials who lack legal power to force the Legislature to play by the same spending rules which the Legislature imposed on local governments.

As Rensselaear County Executive Jimino explains so well, it’s like 3 people going out for dinner, 2 ordering burgers to save money (local governments), but the 3rd eating surf and turf (the NYS Legislature) and then insisting that the total bill be split 3 ways.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has said (see video) that “Albany legislators are spending addicts.” When the Legislature reduces its state budget spending, but allows its mandated state spending hidden in local budgets to escalate uncontrollably, it’s a case of spending addicts reducing their public drinking, while continuing to drink to excess in private.

Still undecided whether to sign? Watch the video of the League of Women's Voters' Unfunded Mandates Public Forum in Rye on 4/21/12 at http://vimeo.com/41332643 Speakers included (minute 13:05) Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino followed by (minute 20:50) Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein, followed by Rye Neck Union Free School District Superintendent Peter Mustich.

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PROMINENT MEMBER OF STATEWIDE LETNYWORK COALITION – UNSHACKLE UPSTATE – ASKS ITS MEMBERS TO SIGN BEST4NY'S MANDATE RELIEF PETITION

Here is the post on Unshackle Upstate's website entitled, BEST4NY ONLINE PETITION FOR MANDATE RELIEF:

“A p

artner in Let New York Work coalition, Best4NY, has an online petition dedicated to the issues of mandate relief for local governments. Best4NY is based in Westchester County, but its issues are the same as ours. They want affordable communities that we are all proud to call home. Please take a moment to sign their petition. It will only help us show the broad, across the state support for meaningful and significant mandate relief. You can complete the petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/mandate-relief-now.html.”

See LETNYWORK to learn more about how well-known organizations such as the NYS Association of Counties, the New York State School Boards Association, and the New York Conference of Mayors, have united to reverse policies of the NYS Legislature which are sinking New York State. BEST4NY joined the coalition last January.

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ENDORSEMENT OF BEST4NY PETITION by AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY (NEW YORK STATE CHAPTER)

Ever hear those “Taxpayer Minute” ads on radio? Those were produced by Americans for Prosperity. The New York State Chapter of Americans for Prosperity has endorsed BEST4NY 's online Mandate Relief Petition. See their May 3 post entitled cheap viagra uk

itle=”Albany Must Deliver Mandate Relief Now!” href=”http://www.americansforprosperity.org/newyork”>Albany Must Deliver Mandate Relief Now!

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