June 1, 2009

Assembly Majority Passes Consolidation Legislation
Measure Will Allow for Local Government Entity Dissolution

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr., and Assembly Local Governments Committee Chair Sam Hoyt announced the passage of legislation that would allow for local government entities to consolidate and dissolve. The measure, first proposed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, will help reduce unnecessary and outdated layers of local government through consolidation and dissolution.

"New York State has more than 10,000 local government entities, placing multiple layers of overlapping taxing obligations upon citizens. As a result, New York's current system of local government can be expensive, and at times confusing, inefficient and susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse," Silver said. "This legislation will allow for the elimination of bureaucracy and duplication through reorganization, which will in turn provide much needed relief to taxpayers."

"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 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."

"Multiple layers of government are not always necessary or economical. We want to empower citizens to decide whether their taxing districts and layers of government are worth the cost," said Farrell. "This legislation will allow residents to start the review of the multitude of levels of governmental regulation and allow them, with their fellow residents, to decide on the necessity of those sometimes redundant regulatory entities."

"Today, the Assembly follows through on a promise long held, but never kept, to provide real taxpayer relief through substantive local government reform," said Hoyt. "Future generations will see this as the day we started the state down a path to recovery and a brighter future."

Under the proposal, both governing bodies and citizens could initiate the consolidation and dissolution process, which would ultimately be determined by referenda. Instead of a multitude of laws scattered throughout town, village, and general municipal law, the legislation would create one single law applicable to local government entities, including towns, villages, special and other districts. Inconsistencies would also be eliminated, simplifying the procedure.