Coalition sets first 'roundtables' to discuss impact of mandates on costs


Director of Communications

Local business and government leaders will discuss the effects of government mandates on the costs of local government in "roundtable" meetings Nov. 18-20 in western New York.

These are the first "Mandate Reform Roundtables" that the new Coalition for Mandate Reform will conduct to explore how mandates affect the operations and costs local governments-and the taxes they impose to pay these increased costs.

Meetings are scheduled for municipal and business leaders from Buffalo's southern suburbs (in Buffalo Nov. 19); for leaders from Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, and Wyoming Counties, plus the town of Greece, Monroe County (in Batavia Nov. 19); and for leaders from remaining towns in the Buffalo-Jamestown-Niagara Falls region (in Buffalo Nov. 20).

In the two weeks after the coalition was announced Sept. 30, another 20 municipal and business leaders from around the state have joined the coalition. More government and business leaders are expected to join.

The purpose of The Coalition is to unite local business and government leaders throughout the state in a discussion of a prime cause of high local taxes: state mandates.

Government mandates are programs and procedures that state government requires local governments and school districts to undertake-with the expenses for these programs and procedures typically borne by the local governments and school districts.

Mandates can pertain to social services, employee relations, and other facet of local government and school district business. They are frequently cited by local officials as a key reason why local government expenditures and taxes in New York State are far above the national averages.

The Coalition will document the mandate problem and develop a program of proposed statutory and legislative changes for lawmakers' consideration.

The Council is providing logistical support. In addition, its research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, has formed a Center for Mandate Reform to conduct research, help develop a legislative agenda, and document public opinion on mandates and related issues.

In September, The Institute reported that the high cost of local government-driven in part by state mandates-is now New York State's largest remaining competitive disadvantage.