Mandate reform tops agenda;tax-exempt properties and welfare recipients also covered
But there were other topics that some members of the crowd of 45 or so people wanted to talk about. One was a campaign to change the laws regarding tax exemption in the state. Cohen, who has written extensively on the topic, said that it would be difficult to tackle the problem through legislation because of the enormous lobbying clout of the various religions in the state who want to preserve the status quo. He said other ways to tackle it would be through court cases or through convening a constitutional convention, in which the state constitution would be reworked. Several residents agreed to work on that committee as well.
A third topic of conversation involved people in need of social services. Two residents said they understood that people from New York City and elsewhere come to Sullivan County to sign up for such programs as emergency housing and food stamps because those services are easier to obtain than elsewhere in the state.
Fanslau and Cohen said that is not true; the standards are the same in every county in the state.