Kudos to the governor for acknowledging the struggle of local governments and school districts during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting. He certainly got it right when he said upstate’s financial suffering is more severe than that experienced downstate.
He proposed some good ideas about government consolidation and a financial restructuring group for municipalities who find themselves in “financial distress”. We are also pleased by the secondary purpose of the task force, providing a binding arbitration panel that would take a city’s fiscal stability into account, as it is an issue we have long addressed.
However, we have to ask what is the use of forming a task force with no teeth? This restructuring group is nothing more than the proverbial paper tiger.
To be successful the group needs to have power to supersede items such as the Triborough amendment, the Taylor law, and many other critical points highlighted in the “Let New York Work Agenda” that further burden school districts and municipalities financially.
The task force is a good idea, but if New York is going to do this they should do it right. There’s no way to accomplish the fiscal changes needed across the state if those set to the task are all bark and no bite.