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Governor to push for local government restructuring board

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he hopes to soon create a statewide board to help fiscally strapped local governments restructure.

Cuomo says he’ll soon create a special government restructuring board that can work with local governments in financial crisis to help cut costs and perhaps share services or merge with other governments. He says many municipalities have been “unable to pay their bills for a long period of time,” and more state aid won’t change that.

“Our solution has been, we come up with an annual subsidy to get the city from one year to the next,” Cuomo said. “But that just kicks the can down the road.”

Local governments, in particular upstate cities, have been squeezed by a property tax cap that limits revenues, declining population, and high costs for benefits for workers. Cuomo says the binding arbitration law that governs portions of union contracts is due to expire this year, and he hopes that can provide another opportunity for cities and other local governments to save money.  

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.