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Mandate Relief First, Legislator Raises Later

by Chris Smith

Rockland County is in dire straights financially because of years of poor planning and bad budget practices. Over the past several months the county has passed costs along to the five towns, such as charging to hold our town and village elections and charging for students who go to SUNY schools outside of the county. In response, the five towns have begun the process of planning to charge the county for maintenance of the roads, lighting, and other services.

In my opinion, I believe the real issue is being lost in all the arguing back and forth between the county and the towns. What we truly need in this state is mandate relief. What is mandate relief you might be scratching you head and asking? Quick answer: The state passes down certain costs to all over New York’s 62 counties, school districts, towns and, villages. For example, pension costs for county and town workers, costs associated with testing students, early intervention, and Medicaid to name just a few. The state in return passes these costs along without giving any of the government entities some of the money to help soften the blow and in the end the most of the costs get passed onto to the local taxpayers.¬† If mandate relief is passed in New York many of the problems that face not only our county, but also the rest of our school districts, towns and villages would be a giant weight lifted off the taxpayers shoulders.

I urge residents to call your State Assemblymember, State Senator, and Governor Cuomo’s office to demand that Mandate Relief is part of the package if our State Legislators want a pay raise.

Rockland County resident Chris Smith lives in Pearl River, NY.

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