Let’s get in our time machine and travel back to June of 2011. That was when New York’s Property Tax Cap was signed into law. We supported the move then. And we still support it. We know it will have a tremendous impact on cost containment and predictability for home owners and for our business community.
But we also expected it to lead to changes in the dreaded area of mandates. Now, “mandates” is not a website where you can go and find a date. They are laws passed in Albany and sent down to our local governments for them to deal with and, most likely, cover any costs associated with the law. And they are a significant reason that our property taxes are some of the highest in the country. They tilt the playing field away from the people we elect locally to represent us (see Town and School Boards) toward public employee union leadership. And their impacts are profound.
That’s why lately it pains me to hear some people say that local governments need to suck it up and make better choices. That the state dealt with their fiscal issues so local governments can as well. Now, I’ll agree that some local elected officials do want to place blame at the feet of the Albany elected. And that they at times use these laws as an excuse to not try harder. But those people are few and far between. Most of the people we elect, as well as other knowledgeable people, have been very outspoken about the impact that mandates have on their respective budgets. You can read more HERE, HERE, and again HERE.
The problem in New York is not that we need more money. The problem is that no one in Albany has the courage to change the laws because if they do, the union leadership might get upset. Maybe they will strike (which by the way they will tell you that can’t do because that was the trade for the Triborough Amendment. That isn’t true, other laws prevent striking). Maybe they will run misleading ads on TV and the radio.
I am tired of the “passing the buck” game. When 2013 rolls around, someone better be taking mandate relief seriously. If not, the future is pretty clear. New York will follow the lead of California, Pennsylvania and Alabama. Can’t wait to see who gets the buck passed to them when that happens!
Time to pass the Let New York Work agenda.