Bill S4475-2011

Establishes the real property tax relief and local government mandate reform act

Establishes the real property tax relief and local government mandate reform act; limits real property tax levies; authorizes counties to levy a medicaid mandate real property tax; establishes a government employee benefit fee for local government; establishes a local government employee benefit fund.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • Apr 6, 2011: REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4475

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general municipal law and the state finance law, in relation to establishing the real property tax relief and local government mandate reform act

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would permit a locality (by means of local law), to establish and collect a non wage benefit contribution fee, from all their government employees, equal to 5% of an employee's salary. The proceeds of such fee would be deposited into a state fund, under the joint custody of the comptroller and the president of civil service. Disbursements from the fund would be paid at the direction of the governing body of the municipal corporation, or the president of civil service for the state, for any non wage benefit cost incurred by such government.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 - Creates the Title of the bill; "The Real Property Tax Relief and Local Government Mandate Reform Act."

Section 2 - Legislative findings and declarations.

Section 3 - Adds §3-C to the General Municipal Law creating the Government employment benefit fee for Local Governments, authorizing counties, towns, cities and villages to implement a fee on local government employees for the purposes of providing for the costs incurred from any non-wage benefits for employees. Non-wage benefits are defined to include health care, insurance, pension, parking, day care, educational and other benefits up to 5% of the employee's gross wages per pay period. Provides that the fees collected shall be deposited into the government employee benefit fund, presided over by the State Comptroller.

Section 4 - Adds §92-o to the State Finance Law creating the Government employee benefit fund and the special accounts of New York State and all local government entities that choose to opt-in to the use of the fund by implementing the Government Employment benefit fee. Directs the powers of the State Comptroller and President of civil Service over the fund.

Section 5 - Sets the enacting date.

JUSTIFICATION: Real Property Taxes in New York State are too high, and the burden they place upon citizens, homeowners and businesses, is making it difficult for New York State to thrive, prosper and succeed. The only way to realistically reduce the real property tax burden upon our citizens, homeowners and businesses, is to place a comprehensive approach in State law which controls costs and spending for local governments, and provides significant mandate relief with respect to their fiscal obligations. Real property tax relief and local government mandate reform must be achieved by establishing a

comprehensive approach to reduce real property taxes across the state, the controlling government costs, and providing significant mandate relief to local governments.

Health insurance costs have been one of the fastest growing components of municipal budgets. For example, between 2002 and 2008, health insurance expenses for cities and villages grew by 40% and 61%, respectively. Additionally, in many municipalities, the cost of retiree health insurance exceeds the cost of health insurance for active employees. In fact, a recent report of the Empire Center for New York State Policy estimates that the total unfunded retiree health care liability for New York's local governments and school districts (including New York City) is $130.4 billion.

Municipalities are currently facing increases ranging from 25% to 40% in pension contributions for 2011 and 2012, and the predictions for 2013 and beyond are just as ominous. According to a survey conducted by the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), total pension costs for cities are projected to rise from $203 million in 2010 to $457 in 2015. A recent report by the Empire Center for New York State Policy estimates that state and local employer contributions will more than double over the next five years, adding nearly $4 billion to annual taxpayer costs.

Public employers can no longer foot the bill for generous pension and health insurance benefits. This legislation would provide a mechanism to protect taxpayers by ensuring that all public employees contribute toward the cost of their non-wage benefits, thereby giving municipal employers the ability to fund essential public services.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4475 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 6, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. MARTINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government AN ACT to amend the general municipal law and the state finance law, in relation to establishing the real property tax relief and local government mandate reform act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "real prop- erty tax relief and local government mandate reform act". S 2. Legislative findings and declarations. The legislature hereby finds and determines that real property taxes in New York state are too high, and that the burden that they place upon our citizens, homeowners and businesses, is making it difficult for New York state to thrive, prosper and succeed. The legislature further finds and determines that the only way to realistically reduce the real property tax burden upon our citizens, homeowners and businesses, is to place a comprehensive approach in state law which controls costs and spending for local governments, and provides significant mandate relief with respect to their fiscal obli- gations. The legislature additionally finds and determines that a comprehensive approach of capping property taxes, controlling governmental employee benefit costs, and providing significant mandate relief to local govern- ments will promote the controlling of the cost and spending for local governments, as well as helping to provide significant mandate relief with respect to their future fiscal obligations. The legislature finally finds and determines that this act seeks to be a part of a comprehensive approach to reduce real property taxes across the state by controlling of governmental employee benefit costs and the provision of significant mandate relief to local governments.
S 3. The general municipal law is amended by adding a new section 3-c to read as follows: S 3-C. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE. 1. EVERY COUNTY, TOWN, CITY AND VILLAGE IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED, BY LOCAL LAW OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, TO ESTABLISH A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE. SUCH FEE SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM EACH EMPLOYEE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT WHO RECEIVES ANY NON-WAGE BENEFIT FROM THEIR EMPLOYMENT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM NON-WAGE BENEFIT SHALL INCLUDE HEALTH CARE BENE- FITS, INSURANCE BENEFITS, PENSION BENEFITS, PARKING BENEFITS, DAY CARE BENEFITS, EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS OR ANY OTHER NON-WAGE BENEFIT PROVIDED TO SUCH PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AS RECOGNIZED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO REGULATION. SUCH FEE, WHICH SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER DEDUCTIONS OR FEES CURRENTLY ALLOWED BY LAW, SHALL NOT BE IN EXCESS OF FIVE PERCENT OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE'S GROSS WAGES, AND SHALL BE DEDUCTED IN EQUAL AMOUNTS PER PAY PERIOD. 2. IN THE EVENT THAT A LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE, SUCH LOCAL GOVERNMENT SHALL NOTIFY THE STATE COMPTROLLER AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, IN WRITING, OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH FEE. UPON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH FEE, COMMENCING ON THE FIRST OF JANUARY AFTER THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH FEE, AND THEN EVERY NINETY DAYS THEREAFTER, THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SHALL PROVIDE FOR THE QUARTERLY TRANSFER OF ALL MONIES COLLECTED FROM SUCH FEE TO THE CUSTODY OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER FOR DEPOSIT IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S SPECIAL ACCOUNT WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND, PURSUANT TO SECTION NINETY-TWO-O OF THE STATE FINANCE LAW. THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, MAY BY LOCAL LAW, ALSO TRANSFER ADDITIONAL MONIES, IN EXCESS OF THE MONIES COLLECTED FROM THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE, TO THE STATE COMPTROLLER, FOR DEPOSIT IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S SPECIAL ACCOUNT WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND. 3. A LOCAL GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS ESTABLISHED A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, AND WHICH HAS TRANSFERRED THE MONIES FROM THE COLLECTION OF SUCH FEE TO THE STATE COMPTROLLER FOR DEPOSIT IN ITS SPECIAL ACCOUNT WITHIN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND, MAY BY APPROPRIATION RESOLUTION, DIRECT THE STATE COMP- TROLLER TO PAY SPECIFIED EMPLOYEE BENEFIT COSTS TO THE PROVIDER OR PROVIDERS OF SUCH NON-WAGE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE STATE COMPTROLLER MAKE ANY PAYMENT FROM THE SPECIAL ACCOUNT, IF THE MONIES CONTAINED WITHIN SUCH SPECIAL ACCOUNT, DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT OR PAYMENTS TO BE MADE TO THE PROVIDER OR PROVIDERS OF THE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. 4. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, ANY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, AND ANY COLLECTION OF SUCH FEE BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, SHALL NOT BE DEEMED TO CONSTITUTE, BE SUBJECT TO, OR BE IN VIOLATION OF, ANY TERM OR CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT, WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE FOURTEEN OF THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW. S 4. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 92-o to read as follows: S 92-O. LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND. 1. THERE IS HEREBY CREATED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, A LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENE- FIT FUND. WITHIN SUCH FUND, THERE IS HEREBY CREATED A SPECIAL ACCOUNT FOR EACH COUNTY, CITY, TOWN, AND VILLAGE OPERATING WITHIN THE STATE. 2. SUCH FUND SHALL CONSIST OF THE REVENUES DERIVED FROM THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE COLLECTED BY EACH COUNTY, CITY, TOWN, AND VILLAGE
OPERATING WITHIN THE STATE, PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE-C OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW, TOGETHER WITH SUCH ADDITIONAL VOLUNTARY PAYMENTS MADE TO THE FUND PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE-C OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW. 3. FOLLOWING THE APPROPRIATION OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR VILLAGE, MONIES FROM THE FUND SHALL BE USED, UPON CERTIFICATION BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER, FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY PUBLIC EMPLOYEE BENEFIT EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, AN EMPLOYEE BENEFIT EXPENSE SHALL INCLUDE ANY EXPENSE DERIVED FROM THE PROVISION OF ANY NON-WAGE BENEFIT, INCLUDING HEALTH CARE BENEFITS, INSURANCE BENEFITS, PENSION BENEFITS, PARKING BENEFITS, DAY CARE BENEFITS, EDUCATIONAL BENE- FITS OR ANY OTHER BENEFIT PROVIDED TO A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AS RECOGNIZED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO REGU- LATION. PAYMENT OF THE MONIES OF THE FUND SHALL BE MADE BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER, FROM THE SPECIAL ACCOUNT OF THE COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR VILLAGE, DIRECTLY TO THE ENTITY PROVIDING THE EMPLOYEE BENEFIT, PURSUANT TO DIRECTION OF THE APPROPRIATION MADE BY THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE STATE COMPTROLLER MAKE ANY PAYMENT FROM THE SPECIAL ACCOUNT, IF THE MONIES CONTAINED IN SUCH SPECIAL ACCOUNT, DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT OR PAYMENTS TO BE MADE TO THE PROVIDER OR PROVIDERS OF THE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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