ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO UNVEILS LANDMARK GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION LEGISLATION

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News from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO UNVEILS LANDMARK GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION
LEGISLATION

Cuomo Presents Legislation with Bipartisan Support that will Lower
Taxes, Reform Local Government, and Enhance Government Efficiency
~
Legislation Empowers Citizens to Reduce State’s Patchwork of Over
10,500 Governmental Entities That Bury Residents with Nation’s Highest
Local Taxes

MELVILLE, NY (May 21, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo was in
Melville today to unveil landmark legislation, entitled the “New N.Y.
Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act,” which will
give communities across the state the power to reform local governments.
Cuomo has been traveling throughout the state since last year to
discuss his plan with the public, local leaders, and government reform
groups, and to build bipartisan support for his legislation. The
Attorney General was joined by state and local leaders at the
headquarters of the Long Island Association.

As the current fiscal climate continues to financially squeeze
communities and residents across the state, Cuomo’s proposal is
designed to cut government waste, reduce taxes, and provide vital
services in a more efficient manner. Currently, the state’s
overlapping governments saddle residents with the nation’s highest
local taxes.

Cuomo’s comprehensive legislative plan will streamline the often
Byzantine and cumbersome process of consolidating local governmental
entities, including the myriad special districts across the state. The
proposal will not mandate consolidation; rather, it restructures the law
to allow citizens, local officials, and counties to make the decisions
themselves.

“We have the historic opportunity to pass legislation that will
empower citizens, streamline New York’s antiquated local government
system, and reduce the tremendous tax burden that New Yorkers deal with
every day,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Over the last several
months I have been traveling the state to build public support and to
reach out to local leaders regarding this government consolidation
proposal. Today’s show of bipartisan support for the plan is further
testament to the fact that in these tough economic times we need to
implement reform and save taxpayer dollars. I look forward to
continuing to work with both sides of the aisle to usher this bill into
law.”

In all, there are more than 10,500 governmental entities imposing taxes
and fees across New York State. This includes towns, villages,
districts, and special districts such as water, sewer, and lighting
districts.

As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Cuomo is often
tasked with advising local governments on the laws regulating them. It
is clear that current laws are filled with inconsistencies and
complexities making meaningful reform virtually unattainable. Attorney
General Cuomo’s bill repeals and amends these outdated laws to allow
for meaningful reform of local governments throughout the state.

Attorney General Cuomo’s proposal has already received support from
leaders statewide.

Senator John J. Flanagan said, “I’ve long fought to reduce the
ever-growing burdens on taxpayers. That’s why I’m happy to work
with the Attorney General to make sure that we empower citizens and
local governments to fundamentally reorganize and reduce duplicative
layers of government so that taxpayers can get some relief.”

Assemblymember Bob Sweeney said, “Attorney General Cuomo’s bill is
just what New Yorkers need right now to make government more efficient
and to cut unnecessary ta
xes. I support this bill and look forward to
working with the Attorney General to ensure its swift passage.”

Assemblymember Fred Thiele said, “New York State is facing the
greatest financial challenge of our generation. Now is the time for
bold and progressive innovations that will make our government work
better and cost less. Attorney General Cuomo’s bill provides exactly
the direction we need to achieve a stronger, streamlined government in
New York.”

Assemblymember Patricia Eddington said, “Thoughtful and sensible
plans like Attorney General Cuomo’s proposed legislation to empower
citizens to reorganize their layers of local governments in order to
find efficiencies and taxpayer savings, while still providing them with
the services they need, will go a long way to help New Yorkers through
this economic crisis and beyond.”

Assemblymember Michael Fitzpatrick said, “Consolidating antiquated
and inefficient layers of government will benefit all New Yorkers. I
applaud Attorney General Cuomo for developing this proposal and bringing
this bill and will fight vigorously to make sure it gets enacted into
law.”

Assemblymember Phil Ramos said, “I applaud the Attorney General’s
bill that empowers citizens and government to modernize local
municipalities in order to save taxpayer dollars. I look forward to
working with Attorney General Cuomo to make sure the bill becomes law.
Taxpayers deserve no less.”

Assemblymember Phil Boyle said, “New Yorkers deserve a government
that responds to their calls for reform. Attorney General Cuomo’s
bill empowers citizens of New York to bring about the change they need
in their government. Working together in a bipartisan fashion, we can
help save taxpayer dollars.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said, “I am happy to work with
Attorney General Cuomo towards consolidating special districts. In a
similar vein, over the last few years in Suffolk, I have worked with
municipalities and school districts towards consolidating functions and
sharing common services to also save taxpayer dollars.”

Senator Brian X. Foley said, “Working families on Long Island and
throughout the state are doing more with less. It’s time government
does its part by recognizing the need to reduce costs and save taxpayer
dollars. I commend Attorney General Cuomo for bringing this important
issue to the forefront and look forward to considering all possible
avenues to cut waste and put money back in taxpayers’ pockets.”

Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said, “Long Island homeowners are
struggling to pay their property taxes and are looking for tax savings
that make sense. Attorney General Cuomo’s proposal would provide
consolidation options that some communities may be interested in
considering to bring about significant relief.”

Long Island Association President Matthew T. Crosson said, “Long
Island has over 900 taxing jurisdictions, more than 700 of them special
districts. Their cost adds to the Island’s property tax burden, which
is among the highest in the nation. The LIA agrees with Attorney
General Cuomo that the voters should be empowered to decide whether to
keep special districts as they currently exist or consolidate them to
reduce taxes. We look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney
General to make this important reform in the region’s and the
state’s governmental structure.”

Association for a Better Long Island Executive Director Desmond Ryan
said, “With over 10,000 layers of government in New York State, the
tax burden that rests on New Yorkers can stifle growth and limit
business development. By streamlining government, we can help citizens
and the businesses in Long Island and throughout the state. The
Association for a Better Long Island supports Attorney General Cuomo’s
legislation and urges its passage.”

Long Island Progressive Coalition Director Lisa Tyson said, “The
passage of this bill would bring long-needed aid to Nassau County’s
h
ard-working taxpayers. For too long, Special Taxing Districts have been
allowed to exist as unregulated independent taxing fiefdoms that have
cheated citizens due to their unfair, opaque and corrupt practices. We
applaud the Attorney General for championing legislation that will allow
for the consolidation, streamlining, or reform of Special Taxing
Districts.”

Residents for Efficient Special Districts Executive Director Laura
Mallay said, “Consolidating special districts will improve the way
government functions in New York State. Taxpayers are currently
subjected to an array of overlapping specials districts that cause
expense and confusion. Attorney General Cuomo’s bill will encourage
vital reforms that give citizens the power to cut the excess
bureaucracies and lower their tax burden. This is important
legislation, especially in these times, and I fully support it.”

For more information about Attorney General Cuomo’s proposal and to
view an interactive map detailing special districts in New York State by
county, visit www.oag.state.ny.us

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