ADVERTISEMENT

Cuomo’s budget proposal attacks local governments

In New York State, we are now observing a misinformed governor undermining representative local governments in the name of cost savings and lower taxes. His budget proposal presses various financial levers to diminish the viability of the last bastions of self-government available to New Yorkers – villages and towns.

How dare Gov. Andrew Cuomo presume to use his abundant power to undermine representative government that actually resembles the democratic form. At the same time, he pays only paltry lip service to state campaign finance reforms that could make state government a bit more like representative democracy instead of a triumvirate dictatorship. We remain stuck with Albany’s “Gang of Three.”

It is no secret that New York State does not function as effective representative government. Objections to the governor’s steamroller efforts by duly elected mayors, town supervisors and village and town board members support representative democracy for their constituents. Many shared services and cooperative activities are already in place, for example, consolidated village and town police services, county sewer and water services for towns and villages and cooperative road services.

How will our Western New York state delegation deal with the governor’s budget proposals that attempt to gut local control beyond the state’s existing over-reach? I plead with them to be wise and work toward facilitation of effective representative government at the local level as well as at the state level. The alternate choice is to work toward destruction of democratic values and representative government under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars, which may or may not materialize.

Lynda Stephens

Buffalo