Needing State Money, New York Mayors Get Their Own Joe

ALBANY—Add another everyman to this year's political discourse.

The New York Conference of Mayors unveiled a new web site this morning at its winter gathering, where some 40 mayors from around the state have come together to formulate legislative priorities for the coming session.

The site charts the level of aid to municipalities over the last decades, and tax increases the mayors say are a result of dwindling state funds. "We are very concerned that New York State will make the same mistake in made in 1989 [when aid was slashed]," said NYCOM President John McDonald, also the mayor of Cohoes.

The site also, of course, has a blog, purportedly belonging to "Joe Taxpayer." At a press conference, McDonald said it's important because "too much policy wonk and you lose people."

"Joe sees the fire trucks go by his house, he sees the mayor at the diner in the morning and he sees his property taxes go up."

In a way, Joe is meant to be every man, McDonald said–for example, Joe lives in the village of Empire Falls with his wife, Josephine.

Peter Baynes, NYCOM's executive director, said the blog is ghostwritten.

Last week, Governor David Paterson unveiled his own budget-themed Web site.