Asked what the state might do to help fiscally distressed upstate cities, Governor Cuomo today said his administration was “looking at various approaches to help cities more on an individual basis than on a collective basis.”

That would seem to indicate the governor will continue to avoid taking a position on comprehensive reforms favored by a broad cross-section of municipal officials, such as repeal or modification of the state law giving police and fire unions the option to seek binding arbitration of their contracts.  He can’t duck this question indefinitely, though, because the arbitration provision sunsets next June 30.  That means the law cannot be extended without his signature.

Other potential comprehensive mandate relief reforms ignored by the governor include repeal of the Triborough amendment and the establishment of a statewide floor under public employee contributions to health insurance plans, as was recommended four years ago by a local government efficiency commission headed by Mario Cuomo’s former lieutenant governor, Stan Lundine, whom no one would confuse with Scott Walker.

Since the state has no spare cash, any “individual” help Cuomo provides to local governments seems likely to be token or gimmicky, like the spin-up of AIM funds this year.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is a senior fellow at the Empire Center.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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