Unshackle Upstate Says Mandate Relief Never Happened

Published 07/03 2014 01:12PM

Updated 07/03 2014 07:28PM

The Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate says the governor and state legislature have failed to provide substantial mandate relief for municipalities and school districts.

Brian Sampson says he supported the two percent property tax increase tax cap, because the state needed a blunt instrument to force greater conversation about getting costs under control.

However, Sampson says real mandate relief never followed.

He says having the state take over a portion of Medicaid and creating a Tier 6 in the pension system are steps in the right direction.

But, he says the core cost drivers hitting local governments haven't been adequately addressed.

Unshackle and several other organizations have created a mandate relief agenda called Let New York Work.

The six-part plan has a construction aspect to it that includes changing the wicks law that deals with bidding expensive projects and revamping the scaffold law that Sampson says imposes an absolute liability standard on the owner and contractor on construction accidents, regardless of the actions of the injured worker.

Sampson says New York is the last state in the country to have that.

"We're not even asking for a repeal. We're asking for something called comparable negligence where any injury on a construction site, the actions of all parties would be considered before that case would move forward or that case was going to be awarded some form of judgment. We have a huge general liability issue in the State of New York," said Sampson.

Let New York Work also focuses on pension reform. It seeks to create a defined contribution mechanism, like a 401K plan, which was taken out of the Tier 6 reform measure that was previously passed.

"We find that employees today, traditionally the younger workforce does not work at the same place for 20, 30 or 40 years. This is a portable option that will help lessen the cost on municipalities and school districts, but it's also a benefit to the employees so they can take their investments with them and provide them with some control," said Mike Durant.

For more information on the agenda, log on to UnshackleUpstate.com.

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