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Little: Task force suggests halting new mandates

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who previously served as mayor of the city of Plattsburgh, says talk of mandate relief has been going on for years in Albany.

He says the proposals put forth by the mandate relief task force don't go far enough.

"It isn't enough," Rabideau said. "And not only that, but you're not going to see a constitutional amendment on it. It does not, in my mind, make any practical sense given my experience with Albany - I'll believe it when I see it."

Rabideau says local government officials have the right to be wary of state lawmakers who claim to be getting serious about mandate relief.

"Albany has a penchant for dumping everything they can on local municipalities," he said. "That's been going on since I was first elected mayor 20 years ago. That was our chant - 'mandate relief, mandate relief.' And it's been watered down and watered down. I just get frustrated with Albany and I'm very skeptical."

Little says the state Senate has, in the past, supported prohibiting unfunded mandates. This time it has the support of the executive branch, she notes.

"This brings it to a new level because it's being proposed as part of the executive team, which means there will be support from Gov. Cuomo," she said. "And putting it in the constitution makes it permanent."

This week's report details more than 100 specific mandate relief proposals.

Among the other recommendations are a proposal for establishing a standing office as a "clearinghouse" on mandate relief and creating a new Tier 6 pension plan for public employees.

Additionally, the Mandate Redesign Team is calling for fully agency reviews and accounting of state and regulatory mandates.

The task force also proposes reducing costs to local governments by doing away with mandated study requirements for public works projects.

The mandate redesign team consists of state lawmakers, local officials, and representatives from organized labor.

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