For Immediate Release: Monday, February 10, 2014
Contact: Matt Richter
Westchester Legislators Report from New York State Association of Counties 2014 Conference
A delegation of seven members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) made the trip to Albany last week to attend the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) Annual Conference. Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) New Castle, Somers, Yorktown, Vice Chairman Jim Maisano ( R ) New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor, Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D) Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill, Legislators MaryJane Shimsky (D) Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Ken Jenkins(D) Yonkers, Catherine Parker (D) Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye and Peter Harckham (D) Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers, all participated in the conference which brings together more than 800 leaders from all 62 counties in New York to discuss issues like property tax reform, agriculture and the environment, aging infrastructure and economic development. BOL Chairman Michael Kaplowitz led the bipartisan, Westchester delegation and said that one of the most important issues that all NY county leaders discussed was Governor Cuomo’s property tax proposal. "I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing that high taxes, especially in places like Westchester are a serious concern for both residents and businesses. County leaders from all around the state
want to see property taxes alleviated and I believe that most efficient and permanent way to achieve those reform is through mandate relief for our counties. Specifically, I would like to see much the county portion for medicaid costs shifted back to the state. I hope that any surplus that is realized in the current or future budgets would be applied directly to reducing those costs." Kaplowitz went on to say, "Another important element in the tax equation is growing our tax revenue through economic development. New York ranks at or near the bottom of all states in the category of 'business friendly environment'. We have to address the real reasons we hold that distinction and correct them if we are going to have a real economic recovery in New York." BOL Vice Chair, Jim Maisano also serves as Vice Chairman of the BOL committees on Legislation and Environment and Energy said, "The annual NYSAC conference is a wonderful opportunity to come together with elected officials and staffers from every political party in every geographic region of New York. We see the unique challenges that other counties face as well as the problems that affect all New Yorkers. This meeting allows us to speak with a unified and amplified voice about our shared challenges and hopefully work toward solutions. I look forward to working for the next two years with my colleagues on the county and state level to deliver the very best for Westchester residents." Majority Leader, Legislator Catherine Borgia has served as an elected official at the county and municipal level and as an advisor in the state legislature. Legislator Borgia also serves on the NYSAC Legislative Committee. After the conference, Legislator Borgis said, "When you meet with 800 county leaders from around the state, you realize that despite our geographic, economic, and population differences, all of New York’s Counties face similar challenges and opportunities for the future. By working together, learning best practices and new innovations from each other, we are stronger advocates for good, effective, efficient government. NYSAC’s Legislation committee, on which I serve, works
collaboratively with our state lawmakers to help them understand how the actions they take in Albany impact residents at the county level . It is important for county and state representatives to have this dialogue to assure that the people of New York State are best served at every level of government."
Legislator Ken Jenkins who is Chair of the newly created BOL Federal and State Affairs Committee characterized the role of NYSAC as our 'lobbyists' saying, "The time and resources that we invest in meeting with county leaders from around the state to share ideas and solutions to the challenges we face pays dividends immediately but coming together to identify legislative agenda items that we can work to promote within the State Legislature and Governor's office to affect policy will pay off for many years to come." Legislator Jenkin's added, we met with every member of our state delegation that was present and I intend to continue that dialogue as Chairman of the State and Federal Affairs Committee to make sure that Westchester residents are properly represented at every level and in every branch of government." Legislator MaryJane Shimsky is Chair of the Westchester BOL Infrastructure Committee and was recently appointed to serve on the NYSAC Public Works & Transportation Committee. Following the conference, Legislator Shimsky said, "It is always useful to learn how other counties are coping with the same problems we have. I learned useful tips in cutting road and bridge maintenance costs from other counties’ Public Works Superintendents; and gained new strategic perspective on State funding of local infrastructure projects."
(left to right) Chairman Kaplowitz, Vice Chair Maisano, Legislators Parker, Jenkins and Shimsky
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. Learn more at www.NYSAC.org. ###