Let NY Work Agenda

After successful enactment of the 2% property tax cap, UU has turned its focus to mandate relief for local municpalities and school districts.  Mandate relief is essential to keep New York affordable. When coupled with the tax cap, mandate relief will continue to lower the burden on taxpayers across the state. 

That’s why Unshackle Upstate took the lead to bring together 20 prominent business, government, and educational organizations to promote the “Let NY Work” agenda.  This critical 6 critical point plan will make our communities more affordable, ensure that we are providing our kids with a well rounded education, and allow our municipal governments to deliver services we need and deserve.


1)  Make the Pension System Affordable

- In an early 2012 victory for Let New York Work, the state passed Tier VI, a new retirement program for public employees.  The reforms contained in Tier VI have the potential to save New York taxpayers nearly $80M over the next 30 years.  That reduction will help control the sometimes volatility of pension contributions paid by local government.

But New York must do better.  While Tier VI opened up a move from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution platform, it was too restrictive as to the number of employees that could access the defined contribution option.

New York needs to amend Tier VI not to diminish the benefits, but to enhance it by offering a defined contribution model similar to that in the SUNY/CUNY system, to all current and future public employees at the state and local level.  Doing so will provide employees with a fully portable system where they control their investments as well as provide tremendous cost savings for taxpayers as they will no longer be eligible to cover a defined benefit retirement structure.

2)  Redefine Compulsory Arbitration

 - Define Ability to Pay – contracts cannot force government to exceed the cap or cut services

- Add Transparency to the Arbitration Process – let taxpayers hear the terms before they are voted on

3)  When Contracts Expire, Freeze Step Increases

4)  Reduce Costs of Construction on Public/Private Projects

- Make permanent the use of Design-Build and other efficent project delivery models.

- Pass the Public Construction Savings Act, S.3484A (Ranzenhofer)/A.6523 (Schimminger).

- Wicks Law-increase threshold to uniform $10 million across the state

- Use Unemployment Insurance (UI) Prevailing Wage tables to determine regional prevailing wage rate for projects

- Pass legislation to apply a comparative negligence standard under the Scaffold Law where a recalcitrant worker-one who refuses to use required safety devices, or engages in other reckless or negligent conduct-is injured [S.111 (Gallivan) / A.3104 (Morelle)]

5)  Establish Minimum Health Insurance Contributions Level for Employees and Retirees

- Employers should cover no more than 85 percent of a single healthcare premium or 75 percent of a healthcare premium for families or retirees.

6) No New Mandates!

- The state should not impose any future mandates on municipalities, school districts and taxpayers.  Enacting the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act (S.4094/A.3106) and requiring a super-majority to add new unfunded mandates would be beneficial.