Last Monday, local government officials urged state legislators to increase aid to their communities. Mayors testifying included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren; and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, among others.
The Governor has a budget proposal that would state aid to local governments with taking action on a plan to consolidate services. Under the Governor’s proposal, county officials will be required to develop plans that generate recurring property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and proposing coordinated services to enhance purchasing power, such as jointly purchasing and coordinating use of expensive transportation or emergency equipment. Taxpayers will then vote on these cost-saving plans in a referendum in the November 2017 general election.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for the state to enact a “Mansion Tax” under which all residential property sales over $2 million would have to pay an additional 2.5 percent tax to pay for rent subsidies. It seems highly unlikely that the Governor or Senate would approve a new tax of this nature.
Republican lawmakers raised concerns during the public protection hearing regarding the Governor’s proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, including its applicability to violent crime and costs associated with the change.
At Wednesday’s hearing on economic development, lawmakers raised a number of questions about the Start-Up NY initiative (which the Governor is proposing to rename) and the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils.