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Zack Hutchins
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July 9, 1998 

Chambers, municipalities, schools invited to join mandate reform effort

The Business Council is creating a new Coalition for Mandate Reform that will unite local government and business leaders in a grassroots campaign for relief from state mandates that drive up government costs and property taxes.

The Council has asked chambers of commerce around the state to play leading roles in the effort.

"State-imposed mandates on local governments are repeatedly identified by both state and local officials as the main reason why our local property taxes are far above the national average," Daniel Walsh, president of The Business Council, told chamber executives around the state earlier this year.

Mandate reform is a long-standing Business Council priority, but little progress has been made. Walsh said the coalition will show lawmakers the depth of support for mandate relief in business and government circles statewide.

Walsh wrote to chamber officials in April, asking them not only to join the coalition but to help recruit local school districts and municipal officials.

The Public Policy Institute, The Council's research affiliate, has formed a Center for Mandate Reform to study the issue and document the ways in which mandates drive up local government costs and hamper flexibility.

The coalition is expected to make mandate relief a legislative priority in the 1999 legislative session

McGraw is already surveying business groups around the state to determine the impact of a 1981 amendment to New York State Real Property Tax law, which allows local governments the option of adopting two-tiered property tax systems. This option allows local government entities to tax businesses and homes at different rates. It is typically used to force businesses to pay a greater share of local taxes.