The Westchester County Association has joined in a historic coalition with Unshackle Upstate, the Long Island Association, and eight other groups to reduce or eliminate legislative mandates that are preventing New York State from being competitive and burdening all New Yorkers. The coalition -- Let NY Work -- outlined a series of actions for which they will lobby in Albany in 2012:
The state should offer two retirement options to new employees - a reduced defined benefit plan or a new defined contribution plan that is controlled by the employees and does not weigh down taxpayers.
Freeze step increases when public-employee contracts expire
Due to New York State's Triborough Amendment, public employees' pay continues to increase under an expired contract, placing additional burdens on school districts and municipalities.
Establish minimum health insurance contribution levels for employees and retirees
Employees should cover no more than 85% of a single healthcare premium or 75% of a healthcare premium for families or retirees.
Reduce the costs of construction on public-private projects
NYS should enact several measures that will spur building and development such as: increasing the Wicks Law threshold across the state; enacting the Public Construction Savings Act, and making changes to the antiquated Scaffold Law.
Redefine compulsory arbitration for public employees
A number of amendments are needed to the state's compulsory arbitration statue that will benefit local municipalities and taxpayers such as: defining the ability to pay; prohibiting consideration of non-compensation issues; lnitng access to binding arbitration; and adding transparency to the arbitration process.
Prohibit new state mandates
Enacting the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act and requiring a super-majority to add new unfunded mandates would be beneficial. In short, New York State should not impose any future mandates on municipalities, school districts, and taxpayers.
"Having the business community joined by local government and school groups with one common agenda sends a powerful message to our elected officials in Albany that meaningful and significant mandate relief must be achieved in 2012," said Bill Mooney, president of the Westchester County Association.
"We are very pleased to be a part of the Let New York Work coalition. We have long believed that once the tax cap [the 2% property tax cap was passed in 2011] was passed, there would be a collective outcry for mandate reform."