Cuomo calls for shrinking government, capping taxes and slashing costly mandates

Cuomo said $250 million would be awarded to schools that excel in boosting pupil achievement, and another $250 million would be granted to schools that slash administrative costs.

Citing that New Yorkers pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, Cuomo proposed a property tax cap that would limit annual increases in taxes to the lesser of two percent or the rate of inflation except by vote of the local citizens or extraordinary capital expenditures.

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said for years, county officials have fought for such Medicaid reform and mandate relief.

"These mandates have contributed in large part to the exorbitant property taxes that are forcing families and businesses out of the state," he said. "NYSAC welcomes Gov. Cuomo's creation of a team to address the mandates that have overburdened taxpayers and local governments throughout New York, and looks forward to working toward real property tax relief."

State Sen. Betty Little said such reform as Cuomo imposed was overdue. Citing census figures that show population moving out-of-state, she said a cap must be imposed on runaway state government spending.

Lawmakers, she said, need to cut or eliminate least-effect programs and services - particularly in light of the state's $10 billion budget gap.

Little said that the legislature must work with a common goal to make those changes.

"The divisiveness of hyper-partisan politics has to end and be replaced with a constructive dialogue that leads to sensible policy decisions," she said.

However, lawmakers should avoid budget manipulation that only achieves illusory short-term gains.

"I'm hoping to see a greater emphasis on a long-term strategy to make New York a more affordable place to live and work five, 10 and 20 years from now," she said.

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