Attorney general unveils new Web site higlighting bloated governments

"It shows there is no rhyme or reason to how many governments exist in any given county," Cuomo said of the Web site map.

Erie County in western New York tops the list with 1,044 forms of local government and is a county with "real economic issues," said Cuomo.

Though there is much "fat" that can be trimmed in state-level spending, he continued, much of the problem lies with an overabundance of local government. The cost of operating those governments is responsible for higher taxes, including property taxes, he said.

"You're not going to reduce the taxes until you reduce the governments," said Cuomo. "We can't continue to pay the operating costs for these governments."

State Sen. Elizabeth O'C. Little, R-Queensbury, agreed. The senator co-sponsored the bill for the New York Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act in the Senate, which was overwhelmingly passed with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the Assembly.

"This legislation empowers people to streamline government," Little said of her reason for being a staunch supporter of the bill. "It gives people the opportunity to really make their government take a look at how they could be more efficient. It improves efficiencies while maintaining services and it's main goal, to lower taxes through shared services, is achievable."

The consolidation of government services is something that has been under discussion for some time, said state Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru. During her more than 30 years previously spent serving local government, consolidation and shared services were always issues on the table.

"I think we need to look at it," Duprey said of shared services and consolidation. "I think there are some areas where we'll find it will be a good fit and there will be some where it probably will not. But, the discussion certainly has to start."

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