With Mayor Mary C. Marvin of Bronxville and Chris Atayan, member of the Bronxville School Board on hand, New York State Senate candidate Bob Cohen held a press conference Monday morning, laying out his plan to rid Westchester taxpayers from what he calls, "burdensome unfunded state mandates" that he hopes will make Albany change their views of how much local municipalities should be accountable for in regard to school expenditures and other social services.
"Westchester will be forced to dramatically raise taxes if the trend continues of eight out of every 10 Westchester tax dollars having to go towards some thing Albany makes up pay for," stated Cohen who passionately declared that this trend must be fixed before things get even worse.
In municipalities like Bronxville, where unfunded mandates have created a situation that Mayor Marvin calls a, "crisis" and "an unsustainable situation," she applauded Cohen's desire to tackle what she calls, the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
"I truly look forward to working with Bob Cohen to gain control of Albany's out of control spending for the sake of Westchester taxpayers," stated Marvin who also pointed out that this year alone, the Village of Bronxville sent over $3 million to Albany and only received about $64K back in direct State aid.
"School districts should, like consumers, shop around for the best prices, buying supplies in bulk the way consumers would do at a Costco or Sams Club," added Cohen, "right now, districts are restricted from working together and are forced to use preferred vendors, which only adds to costs."
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Believing that the property tax load on Westchester families has reached an unbearable state, Cohen also points out that many municipalities' discretionary dollars are being as he says, "confiscated in larger and larger chunks by state mandates,".
Other points of action Cohen laid out as his mandate relief plan were:
- Have the state take over local costs and the administration of Medicaid
- Allow providers to opt-out of federally optional Medicaid services
- Save money on printing and postage by electronic recording and storage of documents by county clerks, school districts and state agencies
- Allow municipalities and school districts to post official notices via the Internet
"It's time we go from nice talk to action in Albany and for every mandate they propose, Albany should be sending a check for proper funding of that mandate," said Cohen.