From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Robert K. Sweeney, Chair, Local Governments Committee
Legislature’s Budget Cuts Costs, Streamlines Services for Local Governments
New York faces tough fiscal choices this year, but we shouldn’t make wrong choices that threaten the future of our communities. That’s why, in the absence of any leadership from the governor, the Assembly and Senate put aside politics to craft a bipartisan budget accord that will help local governments by cutting operational costs and streamlining services. By becoming more efficient and removing bureaucratic obstacles, local governments across the state will be better able to serve their constituents.
Accord restores aid and funds wireless E911 improvements
The Legislature also restored $17 million in aid to local governments that the governor wanted to eliminate and provides $100 million to help local governments set up enhanced wireless 911 systems, allowing emergency operators to pinpoint a caller’s location in the event of an emergency.
The state has been collecting surcharges on cell phone bills for years with the goal of setting up enhanced wireless 911. So far, it hasn’t happened, and that’s inexcusable. This budget puts an end to the delays and the excuses by giving communities the resources to implement this life-saving technology.
In addition to the restored aid and 911 funding, local governments can expect to see improvements in three broad areas: streamlining purchasing and accounting procedures, utilizing new technology, and fostering local government cooperation.
Streamlining purchasing and accounting procedures
Too often, the bureaucracy and red tape imposed on local governments slow down services and cause unnecessary expense. Municipalities’ hands are tied, and they need more ways to efficiently run their operations.
The Legislature’s budget cuts red tape by:
By getting rid of excessive paper and red tape, local governments will be able to make decisions much more quickly. As a result, they’ll be much more responsive and flexible when it comes to meeting the needs of the public.
Utilizing 21st Century technology
With the explosive growth in the Internet, local governments now have a new tool that enables them to collect revenue more efficiently, as well as get important information out much more quickly. The Legislature’s budget will:
Improving government cooperation and consolidation
Local governments can also realize significant savings when they work with other localities. To encourage such cooperation, the Legislature’s budget:
Given the magnitude of the economic problems facing state and local governments, it’s more important than ever to provide localities more flexibility and less paper work. The Legislature’s bipartisan budget accord helps them do this by streamlining and modernizing their services. Of course, the real winners are the taxpayers, who should see results in terms of better service and less government waste.
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