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March 5, 2003

Senate proposes mandate relief, tort reform-top Council priorities

The Republican Senate Majority has proposed mandate relief and tort reform as key parts of a sweeping proposal to help local governments operate better and cut costs.

"This package of budget and legislative proposals represents real relief from frivolous lawsuits, increased pension costs, growing Medicaid expenses and a broad range of other mandates that are costing local governments and taxpayers billions of dollars," Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said.

The Senate proposal cited landmark research by The Business Council's research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, in proposing several long-time Business Council tort-reform priorities. These include:

"Every sector of New York's economy is affected by the threat of virtually open-ended liability created by the state's current tort laws and unfortunately municipalities throughout our state face the brunt of this out of control system," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "Just about everybody loses in the ongoing game of lawsuit lottery."

The Senate also proposed:

The $163 Lightbulb, a 1999 book by Robert Ward of The Public Policy Institute of New York State, concluded that broad mandate reform in Albany could save local taxpayers as much as $5 billion a year.