The Auburn Citizen’s editorial criticizing Governor Cuomo’s successful shared services initiative blatantly ignores the pressing need to ease the burden of property taxes in New York State.
New York already has some of the highest property taxes in the country, with the typical taxpayer paying 2.5 times more in property taxes than state income taxes. The problem became even more urgent last week, when the federal government passed a tax bill that will effectively increase property taxes all across the state.
Since day one, Governor Cuomo has been committed to addressing this burden on homeowners and on our economy. The Governor secured one of the strongest property tax caps in the country in his first year in office and later enacted a property tax freeze, providing a combined average savings of $2,600.
Last year the Governor took new action by calling on counties to assemble towns and villages and find real efficiencies through shared services. The results were astounding: in the first year alone, 34 counties submitted nearly 400 projects with more than $200 million in savings.
Based on the success of this initiative and the overwhelming positive feedback from local governments, it was a no-brainer to continue and expand this approach. The Governor announced this month that he will push to make the program permanent and provide additional incentives to find shared services. As an additional incentive to achieving these savings, the State is partnering with local governments by providing additional funds to match local savings and reward performance - working together any savings achieved are a win for property tax payers.
With more than 10,000 local governments across the state, there is always potential to find more cost savings. And at a time like this, we owe it to our residents to do everything we can to ease the tax burden.
Robert F. Mujica Jr.
Mujica is New York state budget director