The New York State Senate today passed priority legislation by the Independent Democratic Conference that will cut costs and lower burdens on property taxpayers by streamlining the process for schools and other local governments to jointly consolidate healthcare-related and administrative operations.
“This legislation will give municipalities the tools that they need to cooperatively provide services and administer municipal employee benefits which are a major part of the cost of running local municipal governments,” Senator David Carlucci,(D-Rockland/ Orange), said. “Through common sense measures such as this we can save taxpayer dollars and provide quality services to employees.”
This measure, (S.2843), will enhance the ability of municipalities to pool resources and cooperatively provide municipal employee benefits such as health insurance, and tax deferred employee plans. It will also allow municipalities to offer their employees the ability to participate in more health insurance plans that better reflect the needs of its employees.
The bill would also help cut down on duplicative services, increase purchasing power in order to drive down costs and ultimately ease the burden on local tax levies.
“This legislation literally breaks down the barriers that prevent local governments and schools from pooling resources, cutting costs and increasing coverage for their employees,” said Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester). “I thank my colleagues in the Senate for joining with the Independent Democratic Conference to advance this critically important measure.”
Increasing healthcare costs are among the highest drivers of local government spending. This legislation was a cornerstone of the IDC’s plans to ease costs and unfunded mandates on schools and local governments. The IDC reports can be found here and here.
This measure would allow schools access to the Healthy NY program, which on average is 7 percent cheaper than other health insurance products. It would also allows municipalities, either alone or in conjunction with others, to reduce premium rates if its employees to participate in Wellness programs.
“Under this legislation, governments and schools will be empowered to work smarter, not harder,” said Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida). “I thank my colleagues for partnering with the Independent Democratic Conference on this legislation, which is an absolute necessity in an era where we must do more with less.”
“Local governments and school districts will be able to save money, increase purchasing power and better provide for their workers.” said Senator Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn). “This legislation is literally a win-win.”