Governor Cuomo’s 2012-13 budget, to be presented later today, will command media attention for the rest of the week. Advance reports on his modified pension reform proposal are especially promising. Meanwhile, there’s a (fiscally) cost-free approach to helping local governments and school districts alleviate their budget problems: repealing the Triborough Amendment.

Bill Hammond of the New York Daily News highlights the issue today in the context of his column today commending the governor’s use of the budget to force stronger teacher evaluation standards.

Why are school property taxes so high across the state? Partly because local officials’ hands are tied when it comes to squeezing concessions out of unions.

Repealing the Triborough Amendment would go a long way toward turning those situations around.

And it wouldn’t come close to Wisconsin-style union-busting, since this law exists in no other state and would never fly in the private sector.

Repeal is a top priority for the Conference of Mayors, the Association of Counties and other groups pushing for mandate relief so local governments can comply with Cuomo’s much-needed property tax cap.

Oddly, the governor himself has shied from making this issue part of his agenda. Maybe he’s calculating that it would never pass the union-friendly Legislature.

That’s the wrong call. Cuomo has built up extraordinary political capital, as his 73% approval rating in Monday’s Siena College poll shows.

He should spend a little of that capital on fixing Triborough.

Rob Astorino, the Westchester county executive, sounds off on Triborough in the New York Post:

[W]hen I call for reform of the Triborough Amendment, my position is not anti-union, it’s pro-job preservation. I am a union member and supporter of collective bargaining. I’m also extremely proud of our county workers and the quality service they deliver. But we’ve reached the point where if the union workers keep on growing more expensive, we’ll simply have to have fewer of them.

And the Empire Center’s own Rus Sykes lays out the case against Triborough in today’s Buffalo News.

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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