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Area citizens, politicians rally at Capitol to protest costly state mandates

Addressing a rally protesting unfunded mandates held Saturday April 12 at the state Capitol, Queensbury at-large Supervisor  Mark Westcott says that such dictates are forcing local governments to abandon vital services. Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec (right) also spoke at the rally, sponsored by the Upstate Conservative Coalition.

Addressing a rally protesting unfunded mandates held Saturday April 12 at the state Capitol, Queensbury at-large Supervisor Mark Westcott says that such dictates are forcing local governments to abandon vital services. Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec (right) also spoke at the rally, sponsored by the Upstate Conservative Coalition. Photo by Thom Randall.

— “Democracy still works,” she said. “People taking action makes a huge difference.”

State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville), agreed.

“The only way we’ll achieve change is through a grassroots effort.”

State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Schaghticoke), who represents a substantial portion of the 108th district, called unfunded mandates the work of “dictators.”

“There’s nothing more un-American than unfunded mandates,” he said. “It’s a cowardly way to govern, and it’s choking the life out of the nation’s greatest state.”

The rally was held April 21 to coincide with the arrival of Tom Cavanagh, who is walking across New York State to protest unfunded mandates.

Near the end of the protest rally, Cavanagh showed up, clad in a red, white and blue headwrap.

He said that these mandates were boosting property taxes to the point that citizens had to choose whether to pay for food, medicine and utilities — or their ever-increasing property taxes.

“These mandates are bankrupting our communities, our counties, or towns — and the taxpayers who foot the bill,” he said, calling for people to urge their local school boards to pass resolutions in protest.

Cavanagh, a citizen of Delaware County, started his 459-mile trek April 15 in Champlain, and plans to finish his trip in Long Island on May 2. Along his route, he stopped in Elizabethtown late last week to talk with Town Supervisor Margaret Barkley.

The rally and trek were sponsored by the Upstate Conservative Coalition.

Stec, a candidate for the 114th state Assembly District seat, and Westcott together were featured on a panel on unfunded mandate relief at the New York State Association of Counties conference held in January. More information may be found at Westcott’s website, www.enoughmandates.com.

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