In this week’s debate against State Senator Greg Ball (R-40), democratic challenger Justin Wagner, said:
I don't just want to cap property taxes, I want to reduce them by lifting mandates that are crushing local governments.
You can hear from both candidates in Patch's extensive debate coverage here.
Today Wagner took his mandate message to the sidewalk in front of one such local government feeling the crush, Sleepy Hollow’s Village Hall.
Wagner, alongside Deputy Mayor Karin Wompa, and Peter Harckham, Majority Leader of Westchester County Board of Legislators, spoke about mandate relief for both citizens and local government, not tax cap but tax reduction. Along the way, he won the official endorsement from the village on behalf of Wompa.
"We put our support behind Justin Wagner," Wompa said.
See the attached video for more of her statement and Wagner's mandate relief talking points.
Despite feeling a little off the map here in Sleepy Hollow, on the southern fringe of a district new to us, the 40th, Wagner actually has made more stops here than he publicized. He’s gone, he said, on a few occasions door to door with Mayor Ken Wray.
“He has a great pick-up truck we drive around in with my bumper sticker on it,” said Wagner, who himself drives a blue Prius. He described Wray as "very supportive" of the fight.
And a fight it’s been. Wagner described this Senate seat as highly competitive, "one of, if not the most, competitive in the state." Redistricting has made the district that tends to lean more Republican (but voted for Obama in 2008) a little less so.
“It’s a fantastic district,” he said, noting its range from urban to rural and everything in between in its stretch now across multiple counties. “But as far as alerting the populace to new district lines, the state has left something to be desired,” he said.
As his Latrino Outreach Coordinator, David Brezler, said the other week at Arthur Avenue Bread, they’ve got to get the voters out, especially those in Sleepy Hollow who might not even know what district they now reside in. Wagner says he approaches people here and wants to talk issues but they got initially stuck on, “now can we look at that district map again.”
Every vote will count, Wagner said in an interview I had with him earlier this week. “The race is going to be decided by one or two votes in either direction. It’s as narrow a margin as you can get.”
By adding on Chappaqua and the town of Mt. Pleasant, Wagner said the district picked up about 5,000 registered democrats, tipping the balance slightly more in the party’s favor.
He’s also made a few visits to the Kendall-on-Hudson assisted living complex in Sleepy Hollow and attested to what a sharp group of people the residents there are. They are armed with good policy questions, he said, adding that he "loves policy."
And to my question about competing against such a PR Machine – and incumbent to boot – as Ball, Wagner said this, “I think the region needs a leader focused on results not headlines.”
Ball has also been talking mandate-relief, most recently at Mt. Pleasant Town Hall in Valhalla. He issued this statement:
The pressing issue of property tax relief is directly linked to our ability to deliver comprehensive and lasting mandate relief to our school districts and local governments. From burdensome testing requirements, local reporting nightmares, administrative bureaucracy to very specific and costly MS4 requirements there are a myriad of opportunities for Albany to deliver relief. Step one begins with doing no more harm and immediately ending legislative action on all future unfunded mandates. Step two is to hold a special session and require an up or down vote on a comprehensive mandate relief package.