Thursday, February 09, 2012
When the Let NY Work coalition unveiled its mandate relief program back in November, pension reform was literally at the top of their list. The coalition consists of business, real estate and municipality groups pushing for major changes to the obligations localities have to the state and public employee unions.
Today Let NY Work doubled down on their push for pension reform, hailing Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal for a new pension tier that would give new state employees the option of enrolling in a 401(k)-style retirement plan.
“New York cannot afford to not pass this legislation," Peter Baynes, the executive director of New York Conference of Mayors, said about the Governor's plan in a statement. "Without it, local governments will steadily lose the fiscal capacity to hire employees, much less pay their pensions. This is a critically important step on the road to sustainable property tax relief for New Yorkers. If state legislators are serious about authentic mandate relief, they must pass the governor’s Tier VI plan."
"The Tier VI retirement proposal advanced by Gov. Cuomo is a fair and balanced approach to containing pension costs in New York," said Unshackle Upstate's executive director Brian Sampson in the statement.
The new Tier VI plan is opposed by labor unions. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has signaled his resistance to the idea, suggesting that the logic behind a new tier--that the current economic problems justify a long-term change to the system--"might not be the smartest move.”
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Mandate relief is a big issue for local governments, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to (continue to) do something about it. He announced that a new council, born out of the passage of mandate relief signed into law last year, will be meet tomorrow to "[review] and [advance] proposals to reduce the statutory and regulatory burden on local governments and school districts."
"For too many years local governments and school districts have been burdened with growing costs, driving up property taxes and cutting into the delivery of vital services," Cuomo said in a statement. "My budget already includes billions of dollars of relief to help lower costs for taxpayers and this council will continue to build on that effort to ensure more savings for New Yorkers."
Members of the Council include:
- Lawrence Schwartz, Chair, Secretary to the Governor
- Mylan Denerstein, Counsel to the Governor
- Robert Megna, Director of the Division of the Budget
- Cesar Perales, Secretary of State
- David Wakelyn, Deputy Secretary for Education
- James Introne, Deputy Secretary for Health
- Kristin Proud, Deputy Secretary for Human Services, Operations, and Technology
- Senator Elizabeth Little (appointed by the Temporary President of the Senate)
- Senator Jack Martins (appointed by the Temporary President of the Senate)
- Assemblyman Carl Heastie (appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly)
- Assemblyman William Magnarelli (appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly)
Tomorrow's 10 am meeting in Albany is the first public meeting, and will be followed by meetings throughout the state.
Monday, January 09, 2012
It looks like local governments are coping with the state's tax cap after all.
According to a report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office, 70 percent of localities were able to bring their budgets in line without overriding the 2 percent tax cap. The audit report also found that some five percent of localities had illegally exceeded the tax cap.
“Our review assisted local governments by providing insight into common issues and errors calculating the new tax cap, and I have directed my staff to develop additional training and expand our outreach to eliminate these errors," DiNapoli said in a statement.
The Comptroller found that 22 percent of localities voted to exceed the tax cap.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
By Winnie Hu
When Governor Cuomo lays out his priorities on Wednesday in his state of the state address, listen to the details of his proposals for a new state education commission, financial incentives to schools, more state aid, mandate relief and his intentions when it comes to teacher evaluations.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Back in the summer--oh those many, many days ago--I wrote about a movement that began among suburban and upstate legislators to have the State start picking up the cost of Medicaid. Currently, localities--such as New York City, as well as county organizations--pay about 16 percent of their local cost.
The program was initially meant as a way to make urban areas--i.e. New York City--pay for having high concentrations of folks enrolled in the program. But now upstate and suburban communities are facing what they say are unsustainable costs and want the state to start taking over the full cost of Medicaid--something most states already do.
The Citizens Budget Commission has no weighed in on the issue, coming out in favor of a state takeover of the system:
Eliminating the local share policy would significantly improve the way New York State finances its Medicaid program. The policy has long placed an inequitable burden on residents living in lower income counties. Serious attempts to end the policy in the past have all fallen short. The recent focus on efficiency in Medicaid and the fiscal pressures on counties due to the property tax growth cap provide an opportunity to fix the policy now.
The full report is after the jump. Expect this to be an item on the agenda when the legislature returns next month.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
It's not over with yet, it's a very fluid situation. But clearly, to effectively implement a tax cap without destroying community college participation, or long term home health care programs, nursing homes, tourism, water, sewer, economic development projects, road patrol, infrastructure—they need to get this mandate relief.
— Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
With the Tuesday announcement of a bipartisan compromise on property tax cap legislation, Governor Andrew Cuomo looks to be on the way to securing two out of three of his big-ticket priorities for the legislative session.