Last Thursday, Gov. Cuomo announced the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition for local governments to build consortiums and compete for a $20 million award. Under the program, teams of two or more local governments will submit plans demonstrating how government consolidations and innovative restructuring initiatives will yield reductions in property taxes.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“Property taxes remain the most burdensome tax in New York and with this competition, we are incentivizing local governments to band together to think outside the box, streamline their bureaucracies, cut costs and deliver real relief to their taxpayers. As I’ve said multiple times, New York has no future as the high tax capital of the world and by encouraging innovation; we are taking one more step toward a stronger, more affordable Empire State for all.”

We don’t want to sound cynical – local government consolidation makes a great deal of sense — but state incentive programs to get local governments to consolidate have not led to many consolidations in the past.

We will continue to point out our view – which is shared by a number of other groups, including NFIB/NYS, the New York State School Boards Association, the New York Conference of Mayors, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, among others – that some key mandate relief measure will ease the financial burden on local governments, and on taxpayers.