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Politics and Government

Onondaga County Legislature puts pressure on state Assembly to end future mandates

Ellen Abbott
The Onondaga County Legislature (2014).

The Onondaga County Legislature passed a resolution urging the state Assembly to take up a bill passed by the Senate that prohibits any new unfunded mandates. Legislator Casey Jordan took up the measure and said the Senate's bill would require funding of any state program or expenditure item that impacts lower levels of government, to be paid for by the state.

“Unfortunately, the Assembly has refused to bring it up, refused to even debate it, which to me is just an insult to the taxpayers," Jordan said. "They’re continually increasing the burden on taxpayers, they’re eliminating any type of local say or involvement in how that money is spent, but making us pay for it.”

Onondaga County spends about 17 percent of its total budget on mandated programs. Jordan said the county's largest mandated program is Medicaid. He said the senate bill is just a start and he would like to see all unfunded mandates eliminated. Jordan claims that if the county did not have to pay for mandated programs, there would not need to be a county property tax. He said sales tax revenue would pay for the services and the cost of the Onondaga County government.

"Imagine that, imagine eliminating your county property tax," Jordan said.

About 20 percent of the county’s revenue comes from sales tax.