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May 4, 2009

Re:  New York Governor Makes Mandates Relief a Major Priority

Dear Member of the State Legislature:

We don’t often write on property tax relief developments in other States. But something is happening in our neighbor to the North that should serve as an example to your colleagues in the public’s service, at the State level, here in our Garden State.

On Monday, April 27, New York Governor David Paterson issued an Executive Order aimed at reducing the costs of government and providing meaningful and sustainable property tax relief.

The Order cites the importance of State-local cooperation, and in no way tries to blame local officials for New York’s property tax problems. Instead, it directs the State bureaucracy to actively solicit the input of local officials during the development of new regulatory and statutory initiatives. It requires State agencies to document the fiscal impacts of any such proposals, to conduct an honest cost-benefit analysis, to demonstrate the participation of local governments in the process and to propose sources of revenue to fund the new mandate.

The Order, further, directs all state agencies to review all their existing regulations and to report back to the Governor’s Senior Staff, by December 1 of this year, with proposals detailing changes “... which could reduce the impact of existing mandates on local governments and generate property tax relief for New York State property taxpayers.”

This year, the New Jersey League of Municipalities has asked you and Governor Corzine to provide meaningful and sustainable relief to our property taxpayers by reviewing and eliminating or relaxing existing State mandates.
As League President, Mayor Tim McDonough of Hope Township stated in his budget testimony, it won’t cost the State a penny to relax or eliminate some of the many mandates that have been imposed, legislatively and administratively, over the course of decades. These mandates drive up the costs of local government and force local budget makers to address a laundry list of State priorities, before they can even begin to plan on how best to meet the local need for vital municipal programs and services.
Local officials want to do all that they can to contribute to our economic recovery. And the State can allow us to help, if it will heed our call for immediate mandates relief
Thank you for all that you do for the people and the future of New Jersey.

Very truly yours,


William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director



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