ARMONK, N.Y. -- If the two-percent tax cap on the tax levy is going to be successful, real mandate relief will have to go along with it.
That was one of the messages from Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) in a recent interview with The Daily Voice.
While the tax cap's goal was to bring tax relief to New Yorkers, many municipalities and school districts have complained that with rising pension and health care costs, it is almost impossible to pass budgets without overriding the cap and that true mandate relief is needed.
"Far too many times New York State takes a one size fits all approach and if we allow governments and schools to innovate they could provide better services at a reduced expense to tax payers," Buchwald said. "There hasn’t been enough progress."
Buchwald said some of his colleagues are not on board with mandate relief but said he has proposed some inititatives that would bring some relief to New York.
"These rules that were written at one time – now are just costing us while providing few benefits," Buchwald said." It's not a headline topic – but we can enjoy success on some of those mandate reliefs- and can help with property taxes across the state."
New York is the only state where medicaid costs are picked up by the county rather than the state. Buchwald along with Assemblywoman Amy Paulin have been pushing for a state takeover of medicaid costs which could slash county taxes.
"We very much believe it should happen," Buchwald sad. "It's a very crucial aspect of mandate relief. We are making slower progress than we should have had, but we're moving toward an era when it comes to the tax cap where the process in dealing with state mandates will be taken more seriously."
Buchwald, a former White Plain councilman, was elected to the assembly in 2012 when he defeated Robert Castelli. He represents Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem and White Plains.