YONKERS, N.Y. – A special counsel hired earlier this year by the Yonkers City Council filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court July 16 challenging the Deficit Act passed in the 2014 New York State Budget.
The act states that during the next ten years, the State Comptroller and Education Commissioner will make recommendations to the city budget, which the City Council must then execute. That means Albany can mandate that the city adopt or eliminate certain programs, or possibly even raise taxes.
The lawsuit challenges the act's constitutionality.
"As we noted earlier this year, Albany tried to give us a credit card to borrow our way out of a deficit that was created, in large part, due to state under-funding, but attached strings that put the State Comptroller and Education Commissioner in charge of the city budget," said Council President Liam J. McLaughlin.
"The Deficit Act is blatantly unconstitutional, was passed without the requisite home rule request from the city, and we expect it will be overturned by this lawsuit."
The lawsuit states that for the Deficit Act to be legally adopted, the lawmakers need to follow the “home rule request,” which requires a vote by local government granting permission for the state Legislature in Albany to act before state lawmakers can take action on concerns that are not statewide.