Cuomo plan seeks to force consolidation of local governments

Feb 17, 2017

Governor Cuomo is targeting property taxes as he moves to force local governments to spend less money by making them more efficient and consolidated. The Governor outlined his plans Thursday at The Meeting House in Williamsville.

Governor Cuomo used his Williamsville appearance Thursday to call for consolidation in local government.
Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The Governor's proposal, currently under review by the state legislature, would require the head of each county to meet with all local governments to come up with a plan save money through efficiency and consolidation. That plan would need approval through a public vote.

Cuomo argues that after consolidation the public will not notice the difference.

"Do you really care if Amherst shares some truck with the next town? Do you really care what sewer district you are in? Do you really care if Amherst co-locates some of the government employees with another government to save rent?"

It's not an idea without vociferous local government critics, who argue that such a proposal ignores the heavy cost of state mandates which are passed onto counties, municipalities and school districts.

The nuance was not addressed by the governor, who assailed the cost of property taxes as "the last major obstacle for this state to take off like a rocket ship."

Cuomo pointed out that there are over 1,000 units of local government in Erie County.

"We have state taxes down. I've cut taxes for every New Yorker in the state. So the state taxes are down and as you saw in the slides, property taxes are about three-times what the state tax is for the people in Western New York."