Daily Archives: July 24, 2012


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.



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.


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.