Ritchie Releases Second Mandate Relief Report

State Senator Patty Ritchie released a second report by her locally based “Mandate Relief Working Group”—and urged taxpaying citizens to submit their own ideas online to cut government spending and eliminate costly unfunded mandates.

The Working Group’s report includes seven recommendations to provide relief to school districts and school taxpayers, and follows an earlier report that focused on saving money for municipal governments.

Senator Ritchie said she will present both reports to the statewide Mandate Relief Council, which is headed by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and is meeting Thursday in Watertown. Senator Ritchie will attend the meeting as one of two State Senate designees on the Council.

“An important part of providing relief to taxpayers is reining in the cost of government through streamlining, greater efficiency and reexamining mandated programs.” Senator Ritchie said. “We’ve already made progress, saving more than $125 million by slashing mandates in the last year alone, but I’ve turned to the experts—local government and school district leaders who are in the trenches every single day—to help us find more ways to save.”

“This second report by my locally based Mandate Relief Working Group includes specific ideas to save taxpayer money. Even more importantly, it’s showing that by engaging local communities and their leaders, we can find ways to rein in government spending.”

Several of the proposals contained in the two reports have been drafted into legislation, and some have already been approved by the Senate.

Copies of both the schools report and the original report of the Working Group can be found at Senator Ritchie’s website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov (and are attached). The site also includes a link for citizens to submit their own cost-saving ideas to the Working Group.

Senator Ritchie’s Mandate Relief Working Group and the statewide Mandate Relief Council seek to continue the work, begun last year, to provide relief to hardworking New York taxpayers by slashing mandates.

In December, Governor Cuomo signed into law a series of mandate relief measures that will save taxpayers over $125 million annually, in addition to Medicaid reforms adopted last year that will permanently rein in the costs of that program.

Members of Senator Ritchie’s Mandate Relief Working Group include Town of Clayton Supervisor Justin Taylor and St. Lawrence County Legislator Kevin Acres, who are co-chairs; Peter FitzRandolph, and ex-county legislator; Jefferson County Legislator Scott Gray; Fulton City Schools Superintendent William Lynch; South Jefferson Schools Superintendent Jamie Moesel; Oswego Town Supervisor Vicki Mullen; Village of Lacona Mayor Peggy Manchester, and Jack Zeh, the Heuvelton School Board President.

The statewide Mandate Relief Commission is meeting in Watertown, after holding similar meetings in Old Westbury, Utica, New Paltz, Albany and Lake Placid. The Council is currently scheduling additional public events in the Southern Tier, Western NY and the Finger Lakes regions.