New York governor signs government consolidation bill

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July 12, 2009

ALBANY, New York: On Friday Gov. David Paterson signed the state consolidation bill into law.[1] Also known as Assembly Bill 8501, the bill calls for eliminating local governments in an attempt to reduce property tax burden on state residents. According to the new law, 10 percent of registered voters or 5,000 registered voters of a town can submit a petition to dissolve the local government. A referendum would be held in which a simple majority in favor of petition would dissolve the government. The issue can also be raised at the county level.[2]

On Friday, the governor praised the bill and said,"This bill is a major step forward in our efforts to cut waste, lower the cost of doing business, and reduce our property taxes. Our system of local government is outdated and overly complicated, and today we are making it easier to consolidate or dissolve local government entities. This legislation represents real reform, and will result in bottom-line savings for taxpayers."[1]

Some village residents, however, criticized the bill and added that while others call village government outdated, "the village government is the most efficiently run government in the state," said Williston Park Village Mayor Ludwig Odiera. Village officials noted that they do not believe that the law will reduce the tax burden, in fact, they argue that the burden may remain the same. Mineola Mayor Martins said, "What you’re doing is creating larger governmental entities, which historically are less and less responsive. Unfortunately, it’s the shift toward the urbanization of suburbia."[1]

In early June 2009 the bill passed in both the state assembly and the senate.[3]

See also

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*New York Senate Bill 5661 (2009)