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Cuomo wants to cut municipal red tape

The state's attorney general isn't wasting any time tackling government waste during what is already being seen as a historic economic crisis.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo outlined his proposal to reduce government waste in order to save taxpayer money on Thursday, Dec. 11. Cuomo said the state's patchwork quilt of more than 10,500 government entities in the state "buries residents with the nation's highest taxes and outdated services."

Cuomo said he would eliminate legal barriers to local government reform.

The proposal is designed to cut government waste and ultimately reduce taxes, according to Cuomo's office.

The attorney general announced that he would work with Gov. David Paterson, leaders of the state Legislature, government reform groups and local government leaders across the state to streamline and consolidate local government.

"Despite New Yorkers drowning for decades in some of the nation's highest taxes, local leaders have been blocked from reforming local government in an effort to cut government waste and reduce the tax burden," Cuomo said.

"During this economic crisis, leaders have a historic opportunity to fundamentally reform this state's patchwork quilt of local government entities. These layers upon layers of taxing entities have a chokehold on state residents, and antiquated and arcane laws governing them perpetuate government inefficiency. Our goal is to reform those laws so communities, where appropriate, can reduce local government burden and reduce the cost of living in this great state."

Some of the thousands of governmental entities imposing taxes and fees includes towns, villages, districts and special districts such as water, sewer and lighting districts.

"We need to help our working families by doing everything we can to lower the cost of government," Paterson said. "We cannot achieve real, sustainable property tax relief without addressing local government efficiency."

Cuomo stated that the option to reorganize governmental entities would allow communities to provide vital services in a more efficient manner. But he said the current law is unable to solve the problem because it poses legal barriers and includes "anachronisms that make operational reform virtually impossible."

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