Another Unfunded Mandate Underwriting Liberal Criminal Law Reforms

Dear Editor,

Another monumental fail as the current State Senators with a (D) after their name find a way to micro manage the taxpayers via the county legislative process with binding legislative programs, subjecting taxpayers to some more of the abysmal spending programs the state vests in. More of a fail are the attitudes of the legislatures proposing and passing these liberal pieces of legislation, which they give no true tax dollar cost to.  

In two words; Unfunded Mandates. One of the more recent money transfers to our local tax bill and liberal pieces of law brought to light stems from a letter written by D.A. Kirk Martin, which he wrote a few weeks back sharing the seismic change of the” liberal” criminal law reforms to take effect Jan.1 as a result of a democrat controlled legislature. 

Not mentioned and as a follow up to Mr. Martin’s information, on Nov. 7, at a news conference in Albany, the NYS Association of D.A.’s President David Hoovler spoke on the criminal justice law changes which will be going into effect Jan. 1, 2020. New laws which will give people accused of crimes more tools to mount a defense in court but also written to incorporate and place the onus on the prosecution to spend equal time to defend the criminals’ legal case rather than prosecute for those wronged and the law broken. 

Stating that to implement these new laws in 62 New York State Counties would cost an additional (above budgeted) $100 million to pay for the extra staff and resources, which the D.A.’s offices are requesting from the state budget to provide the resources to implement. Also stated, the new changes will have a huge impact (as Mr. Martin’s letter outlined) on providing what is known as the discovery laws is the lack of funding that will prevent legal compliance of much which will be required. D.A. Hoovler says without that, it’s another “unfunded mandate” and it will be the county property owners who will pay for the legislation through additional County Property taxes in a state that already has among the highest rates in the nation. In response to the D.A.’s assessment, when asked directly if he would provide the DA’s the additional $100 million, Gov. Cuomo who signed the bill, stated, “No I don’t think they need more funding.”   

The outcome is very clear. Higher property taxes with Lower standards of Law Enforcement. Did the majority of the democrat senate and governor who passed this reform package think of what the cost to the community and taxpayer would be to implement? Did they consider the cost to the protection of safety and welfare of those in the community or to those in law enforcement where foregoing bail for criminal acts for all but the most grievous will have an impact? Bail is a binder to appear. Without it there is no imperative to show up. Even when there is reasonable evidence of a crime, bail is obtainable if merited. Setting bail is the publics’ right to ask for personal accountability and/or protection. Without it, where is the onus and responsibility of the accused to show up if they have no skin in the game.   

Yet we will pay for this new and improved legal justice system in one way or the other, if not both.


Florence Alpert

Candor, N.Y.

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