Across parts of the country, governments and public labor unions are wrestling with tight fiscal times that may require them to forge a new relationship. In Wisconsin, the governor’s success at stripping public employees of many of their collective bargaining rights has Republicans and fiscal conservatives cheering, and Democrats and unions predicting a backlash in their favor. Here in New York, our budget problems are impossible to solve without an overhaul of the government-union marriage.
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Despite the scale of the state’s financial problems, Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo and the wizards in the Department of Budget could probably find ways to paper over them for a few years and hope an eventual rebound in revenues will eliminate the need to inflict any real pain.
But to be considered truly successful, Cuomo should embrace the challenge of putting the state, local governments and schools on a path toward a long-term stable financial future. Read more »
The December 8 election for fire district commissioners is a date to remember for taxpayers who are interested in reducing local property taxes. By state law, fire districts are separate and independent units of local government, typically governed by five to seven commissioners who are elected by voters within each fire district. Terms are staggered so that changing a board requires several elections. From the perspective of taxpayers, the key point is this – fire commissioners develop and approve the budget for their district and determine the property taxes needed to support their budget. Thus, if taxpayers want to reduce their fire district property tax, taxpayers need to convince their fire commissioners to reduce the district budget, or elect different commissioners at the next election.
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