Mandate Relief – Residents Above Politics

Unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts is the top reason that Westchester property taxes are the 2nd highest in the nation. Our taxpayers are overburdened with skyrocketing property tax obligations. Governor Cuomo, Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman David Buchwald have all acknowledged the impact of unfunded mandates on local Governments.  We must put the interests of residents above politics.

Governor Cuomo called for Mandate Relief when signing the tax cap in 2011. The Governor said “We’re going to be working with the local governments to relieve more mandates”.  The Governor said “New York’s future and the future of this state is going to be brighter when we get taxes and regulation under control.” Click photo to read coverage.

Senator Terrence Murphy recently stated “As a former town councilman, I know firsthand that unfunded mandates have been the bane of our existence. State-mandated programs place local taxpayers and local officials in the position of paying for services and programs that they do not control,” Sen. Murphy said. “This bill requires programs that originate from the state to be paid for by the state. Kicking the proverbial can to find funding to local municipalities and school districts is unacceptable. Many of our school districts’ budgets are already overburdened. The new bill will protect local municipalities and school districts from unfunded mandates and will allow local officials to set their own priorities.”  Click photo to read article.

Likewise, back in 2012, Assemblyman David Buchwald stated “At the heart of rising property taxes are the unfunded mandates that prevent towns and school districts from innovating to save money. As a City Councilman, I see how unfunded mandates burden our municipalities, schools, and most importantly our taxpayers. Local governments’ hands are too often tied by the state. If we freed up cities and towns to innovate and share services, they could actually reduce property taxes and provide homeowners much needed relief. I want to go to Albany and get these onerous mandates lifted. Part of the reason that we haven’t had effective mandate relief is that my opponent has tried to tie mandate relief to an attack on workers’ rights that’s so radical not a single Republican Senator will support it. We can’t pass mandate relief if it’s being treated like a football by political opportunists and insiders.  Click photo to read article.

Four years ago, we said we believe in addressing the NYS mandates, not blaming them. We have done just that.

In 2014, we established the New Castle Mandate Relief Committee based on the belief that certain New York State Mandates have and continue to impose significant financial restrictions on the Town of New Castle, restrictions that must be addressed head-on to ensure the stability and sustainability of local services to Town residents. The Committee was charged with the task of identifying means for obtaining relief from New York State Mandates.

In September 2015, the Committee presented a formal report to the Town Board detailing  the dramatic negative economic impact of various mandates on the Town and providing a series of recommendations.  Click here to view report.

On October 27th, 2015, the Mandate Committee made a presentation to the Town Board. Click graphic to view report.  Among other things, their recommendations were to elevate interests of residents above politics and lobby New York State and Westchester County legislators for Mandate relief, including commitment to not add new unfunded Mandates. Click here to see presentation.

On March 3, 2016, Supervisor Rob Greenstein hosted “The Coming Storm: Unfunded Mandates and Their Rising Impact”, a roundtable featuring EJ McMahon of the Empire Center.  Senator Terrence Murphy, Chappaqua Central School Board President Warren Messner, New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein & New Castle Comptroller Rob Deary were in attendance.   Click photo to watch the roundtable.

On March 16, 2017, New Castle Mandate Relief Committee sent letters to Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman David Buchwald requesting an update on whatever efforts they have made, or are currently contemplating, to provide mandate relief to New Castle residents.

On March 21, 2017, New York State Senate passed legislation to prevent local governments and taxpayers from being burdened by unfunded mandates The legislation will help prevent possible property tax increases or cuts to existing services by requiring the state to fund mandated programs that come at an additional cost for municipalities or school districts. The unfunded mandate prohibition passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support.  Click photo to read press release.

March 28, 2017, mandate committee sent a letter to our Assemblyman, David Buchwald, asking him for his full support in the Assembly of the Mandate Relief Bill.   Two week later, the Mandate Relief Committee sent follow up letter to Assemblyman David Buchwald. Click here to view all letters.


On May 2, 2017 our Mandate Relief Committee presented an updated report to the Town Board.  Click here to view report. Once again, they recommended elevate interests of residents above politics and lobby New York State and Westchester County legislators for Mandate relief, including commitment to not add new unfunded Mandates

Our opponents have basically done the opposite of what the report recommends. Our opponents have played politics. Candidate Kirsten Browde said. “When they lower our water standards, which my opponent calls mandate relief, do we want dirtier water, do we want chemicals in our water? This is another example of misleading residents instead of a willingness to tackle a serious issue like mandate relief.

Mandate relief must be a bipartisan effort. We must insist that all of our elected state officials push mandate relief policies instead of playing politics. We must put local concerns first. We will continue to elevate the interests of our residents above party politics.  It’s a problem that cannot be ignored. We will continue to pursue mandate relief. We must.