New York state lawmakers aren’t the only ones critiquing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax relief plan.

E.J. McMahon, founder of the conservative-leaning think tank: Empire Center for New York State Policy, is among many critics calling on Cuomo to re-evaluate the push for his property tax relief plan.

“The governor is grossly exaggerating the true number of local governments New York state has,” McMahon said of Cuomo’s blaming the 10,500 local governments for high property taxes.

McMahon cited  The Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau as supporting data. The census has been tracking the number of local governments by state and by county for years. The latest report, issued March 2011, ranked New York state ninth in overall number of local governments. Of the 89,476 local governments in the United States, 3,403 of them are operating in New York state.

“That’s one-third of the number the governor cited,” McMahon said. “He’s simply trying to divert attention from mandate relief.”

Cuomo has pushed consolidation as sure path to ease New York’s high property taxes.

McMahon pointed out that the number of local governments a county has doesn’t matter. “It’s the cost of the government services that drive up taxes,” he said. “If you get rid of these special districts, you would still have to supply the services.”

The fate of Cuomo’s property tax plan relies on budget debates during the next two weeks. The executive budget is due April 1.

© 2014 Albany Business Review

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