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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