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Pleasantville School Member Wants NY To Know Cost

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Inspiration can present itself in many forms.

For school board member Shane McGaffey, a McDonald’s menu was the source of inspiration behind drafting a bill targeting unfunded mandates.

McGaffey said he was starting at the menu and realized if consumers are forced to know how many calories are in meals they are about to purchase, state officials should know how much cost is associated with bills they are about to approve.

“The state knows how much it costs them, but they don’t know how much it costs the municipalities that they’re imposing some of these limits on,” McGaffey said.

While unintentional, the timing of the bill works out nicely for many local school districts that were upset with the passing of bill A10722A. The bill eventually was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“We see all this legislation and I think it can be very frustrating to us because, you know, we’re capped,” McGaffey said. “And any time legislation comes down that has cost associated with it, it squeezes out some of the local things we want to do.”

McGaffey said state officials need to know just how much of a financial burden they are placing on municipalities. He said the bill would not just be for schools, but also would cover mandates for local governments.

The bill is being drafted with the help of an employee from Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti’s office. McGaffey hopes the bill will pick up some sponsors and make its way through the system.

Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter applauded McGaffey for his efforts and said he is being more proactive than New York’s own Mandate Relief Council.

“I want it to be on the front page: here is the economic study and here’s how much it will cost. If they vote for it after that? OK,” McGaffey said. "It’s a start; we’ll see where it goes.”

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