In the wake of one of the most destructive and secretive budgets in state history, Governor Paterson has once again called for 5-way meetings of the state’s legislative leaders to address our state’s addiction to spending and the need to control skyrocketing taxes.
I have long been a supporter of initiatives to control spending, such as merging services and sharing resources to reduce wasteful spending and duplication. In my opinion, there is no reason why we cannot come together to more efficiently and effectively serve our constituency, whether it be merging the State Department of Transportation with the Thruway Authority, or expanding the ability of BOCES to contract with our local schools to provide administrative and other services.
These are ultimately the types of solutions we need to save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. Our collective challenge is to give the leadership in Albany the support and encouragement they need to overcome a statewide culture of excessive spending and to urge our local and federal partners to follow suit.
High on the agenda must be comprehensive strategies for controlling property taxes, which are not only hitting the pockets of our state residents, but also robbing them of job opportunities as well. Last year, close to two million New Yorkers moved out of state and countless small businesses and corporations closed up shop or decided to make their home in another state. While a cap on property taxes, coupled with a property tax circuit breaker would set the stage for meaningful relief, these strategies will not meet the dual challenge of providing tax relief and ensuring quality education without removing those statutory and regulatory barriers that drive up costs and reduce cost-effective operation.
As with any vice or addiction, acknowledgment of the problem is key to any meaningful change. In this regard, the fact that the five leaders have finally agreed these issues are a pressing concern is good news, but it is not enough. We need to control spending and enact property tax relieving measures now to stabilize the economy and help keep New Yorkers here in our state.