Cuomo’s latest attempt to detangle the web is an incentivized competition challenging two or more local governments to come up with a bold consolidation plan as a way to cut spending, increase efficiency, and lower property taxes.
Consolidating municipal services
Cuomo often focuses on the number of municipalities in New York, suggesting overlapping and redundant governments are a main driver of rising property taxes.
“The cost, the waste, the inefficiency of our 10,500 local governments is still this state’s financial albatross and that is what is driving up the cost,” Cuomo said during his 2016 State of the State address, on January 14.
In theory, streamlining government to ease taxpayers’ burden is a good idea, but it is essential to identify not just any municipal consolidation, but the types most likely to produce taxpayer savings.
There is also some debate as to whether, and to what extent, municipal consolidation addresses the underlying causes of the New York’s property tax problem.
Officials there were more amenable to Cuomo’s consolidation contest, but said that the most “low-hanging fruit” has already been identified and implemented.