reporter

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday proposed linking state aid for local governments to continuation of the county wide shared services panels.

These groups have been meeting a couple of times a year to discuss ways that different communities within a county can save money. The state is going to provide $225 million to match the savings from the county wide shared services initiative.

Cuomo rolled out these ideas as his sixth proposal ahead of the 2018 State of the State. He is trying to soften what is likely to be a blow for New Yorkers in the federal tax reform bill that just passed the House minutes ago. The bill would cap at $10,000 the amount of state and local taxes that taxpayers are allowed to deduct from their federal income taxes.

In a headline on the release, Cuomo states that the typical taxpayer pays “2.5 times more in local property taxes than income taxes.” It cites the fact that Westchester, Nassau and Rockland counties are among the five counties with the highest property taxes in the nation.

Earlier versions of the legislation had proposed doing away with the exemption entirely, which would have hurt communities across the state. The impact would be more limited to high-tax counties such as the ones mentioned by Cuomo.

The rest of the release talks up the property tax cap, tax freeze and rebate checks.

The proposal says nothing about controlling state spending or lowering state income taxes.

In a move that could help governments locally, Cuomo on Monday also proposed easing health care regulations to allow local governments to band together to create a larger pool to increase buying power. Cuomo cited the fact that employment benefit costs for local governments have increased at an average of 5.2 percent per year and now account for 20 percent of local government spending.

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