I've been enjoying The Albany Project for the last few days. It's good to find a community of people who also think that the state government, especially the legislature, needs major reform.
At the same time, though, asking what a reform agenda should mean invariably brings out people who want to abolish as many government levels as possible. This particular commenter - I don't know who he or she is - suggests:
Abolish all fire, sewer, and library districts and give those duties to the counties they were in.
May be politically hard, but morph school districts into county governments, like was done in NYC.
Abolish all villiages, and incorporate them into the towns they are in.
Change town governments into what borough governments are in NYC- limited, ceremonial posts that can give input on local zoning issues.
Make counties the primary form of municipal govenrment outside NYC and give them greater independence on taxing issues. The reason property taxes are so damn high is that property taxes are the only type of taxes counties can raise without approval from the legislature. It counties could raise sales taxes or create progressive income taxes instead of killing the middle class with property taxes, it would do everyone a world of good.
The last point about tax independence seems reasonable to me, but do we really want to abolish everything below the level of the county? (I can't tell if cities would get abolished too.)
So what do you think? Should we:
Disincorporate the Villages of Freeville and Dryden?
Hand over sewer, water, fire protection, sidewalks, recreation, and zoning (beyond 'ceremony') to Tompkins County?
Abolish the Dryden and Ithaca School Districts and combine into a Tompkins County School District?
I'm sure somebody would like to see that, but I would rather not.Posted by simon at February 8, 2007 5:10 PM in politics (state)