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Genesee County Officials held a "Mayday" for mandate relief rally near the steps of the old court house Monday. The officials were calling on the state government to help with rising mandate costs.

Governor Cuomo already agreed to help with the costs in 2013, but local lawmakers say that’s not soon enough. The rally seemed to highlight a few mandates, but much emphasis was placed on the cost of Medicaid.

Legislative Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock said mandates like Medicaid take up the bulk of their budget and they are left with very little to operate.

"Just to illustrate it's over a billion dollars a week that New York State spends for Medicaid, so it's enormously expensive. The program has every option that is possible by the federal government, but that's the States program, okay, if they would like to do it that way that's okay, but they have to pay for their decisions," said Hancock. 

In Genesee County over 8,000 people use Medicaid and each week the county pays the state $185,572 for the plan.

County Manager Jay Gsell said they are forced to pay for the mandate and to try not to cut any other programs in the process.

"In almost every State in the union no local governments are paying anything close to the amount of Medicaid dollars that Genesee County and the other 57 counties in New YorkState does. That's the thing that we're finding ourselves choking more and more on," said Gsell. 

Gsell said the rally was necessary to get the attention of the State Legislature to work on more mandate relief before they end their session in June. 

Similar mandate relief rallies are being done in other counties across the State. 

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# H Robinson
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 2:44 PM
School boards, town boards, and county legislators, have been asking the NYS Legislature for mandate relief for years and been ignored. A majority of the Legislature opposes meaningful mandate relief and that's why they passed a tax cap without mandate relief. The effect of doing that is to limit spending by local governments, while refusing to limit its own spending. A famine for local government which pays for a feast for state government. The only solution is pressure by voters. One kind of voter pressure is BEST4NY's online Mandate Relief Petition - google BEST4NY's website for the link. Over 1100 people have signed, including 5 NYS Assemblymen and the NY State School Boards Association. Only voter pressure on individual NYS Senators and Assemblyman can change the policies that make NY a national leader in high property taxes, the number of people fleeing the state, and lack of incentive for new job creation,

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