Attorney General Cuomo Applauds New York State Assembly For Passing Landmark Consolidation Bill To Reduce Government Waste And Save Taxpayer Money

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 1, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today hailed the New York State Assembly’s passage of legislation empowering communities across the state to reform and streamline their local governments, and reduce the local property tax burden.

Cuomo’s landmark “New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act” passed the New York State Assembly today by a preliminary vote of 117 to 26.

“I applaud Speaker Silver and Minority Leader Kolb for working together to pass a truly historic piece of legislation that strengthens the ability of communities across our state to reform their local governments, reduce costly overhead and slash some of the nation’s most burdensome property taxes,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “For more than 75 years, the issue of government consolidation has been examined and studied to death. Now, thanks to strong leadership in the Assembly, New Yorkers are one step closer to having the power to initiate real reform in their communities and lower their tax burden. I look forward to the measure’s swift passage in the Senate.”

The bill was introduced at the behest of Attorney General Cuomo and was co-prime sponsored in the Assembly by Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua), underscoring a bipartisan commitment to give New Yorkers a powerful new tool to reform local governments (Assembly Bill 8501).

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “With more than 10,000 local government entities operating in the state, New York’s system of local government can be expensive, and at times confusing, inefficient and susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse. This measure is a step to eliminating levels of unnecessary bureaucracy and duplication through reorganization, which should provide relief toward taxpayers.”

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said, “Today’s bi-partisan passage of the ‘New NY Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act’ marks an important step toward a less costly, more efficient and streamlined government that New Yorkers deserve. This bill begins the long overdue process of providing a mechanism to help reduce the staggering costs of government and its crushing burden on taxpayers.”

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo), chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Governments, said, “Today's passage of the 'New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act' by the Assembly moves New York one giant step closer to reducing the highest local tax burden in the nation. This is one of the most significant reforms the state has seen in decades and it will soon make the nearly impossible process of consolidating local governments possible. I commend Speaker Silver for his leadership and thank Attorney General Cuomo for his commonsense proposal and tireless push for change and reform in Albany and across the state.”

Cuomo’s “New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act,” is designed to cut government waste, reduce taxes, and provide vital services in a more efficient manner. Currently, the state’s overlapping governments saddle residents with the nation’s highest local taxes.

Cuomo’s comprehensive legislative plan will streamline the often Byzantine and cumbersome process of consolidating local governmental entities, including the myriad special districts across the state. The proposal will not mandate consolidation; rather, it restructures the law to allow citizens, local officials, and counties to make the decisions themselves.

In all, there are more than 10,500 governmental entities imposing taxes and fees across New York State. This includes towns, villages, districts, and special districts such as water, sewer, and lighting districts.

As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Cuomo is often tasked with advising local governments on the laws regulating them. It is clear that current laws are filled with inconsistencies and complexities making meaningful reform virtually unattainable. Attorney General Cuomo’s bill repeals and amends these outdated laws to allow for meaningful reform of local governments throughout the state.

For more information about Attorney General Cuomo’s “New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act” and to view an interactive map detailing special districts in New York State by county, visit www.ag.ny.gov.


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