The New York State Senate recently passed legislation to prohibit unfunded mandates for local governments, schools and their taxpayers.

The bill, S2295, sponsored by State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, would require certain state-mandated programs imposed on municipalities and school districts to be funded by the state.

“Every time the state enacts a new mandated program, it’s often left up to municipalities and school districts to find a way to pay for the new program,” Griffo said. “But, local municipalities and school districts are fiscally stressed enough, so they should have the freedom to decide what priorities and services they believe are worth funding for their communities, instead of being forced by the state to levy new taxes. If the state wants to tell municipalities and school districts what to do, then the state should be willing to provide the funding in order to achieve that goal. By once again passing this bill, the Senate continues to demonstrate its intolerance for unfunded mandates and the undue pressure it places on our communities.”

State-mandated programs place local taxpayers and officials in the position of paying for services they did not budget. The programs allow the state, rather than local officials, to set priorities for the locality, forcing municipalities to levy more taxes on its residents to pay for the state-mandated programs. Under the provisions of the bill, the education law is amended so that no unfunded mandate will be enacted if it creates a net additional cost on any school district or local government.

The bill will be sent to the assembly.