Governor warns of 'perilous' times

Breslin said he was also glad to hear Paterson's initiatives on health care and energy. Albany County is currently involved in several cost-saving consolidation efforts such as a countywide health insurance consortium and a storm water management consortium, said Breslin, adding that he is also looking at a possible countywide property tax assessment consortium.

The county executive wasn't without concern though.

"I am concerned there are some reimbursements that we may not get in the future that will make our services more expensive," he said. "We'll see how the budget plays out."

In Bethlehem and Guilderland, the town supervisors both listened to the State of the State with interest.

"One of the things that I'm concerned about is the drum beat for a tax cap," Bethlehem Supervisor Jack Cunningham said of the speech. "We [towns] don't have any other means to raise revenues, like taxing sugared sodas."

Cunningham said he was "all for efficiency" but was skeptical state government would have the answers.

"I can't imagine that the state of New York can come up with a more efficient solution before the local municipalities," he said.

Pointing out that the county initiatives mentioned by Breslin were "bottom up" concepts, Cunningham said a tax cap could potentially affect essential "direct" services to local residents.

"A percentage cap is not necessarily a good thing," he added, stating that a 4 percent raise of a school or county tax is much more money than a 4 percent raise of a local town tax.

Next door in Guilderland, there was a similar skepticism about the efficiency issue.

"I think that when you look at efficiency, you'll find that local governments are the most efficient," said Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion. "As far as spending and controlling cost, we get burdened by the state."

Runion said he suspected Paterson was referring to the multiple layers of local government that cause the most waste, such as town, village and county services that overlap and could be consolidated to cut spending.

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