ALBANY—David Paterson appeared this morning in Kingston to talk about local government consolidation, a small signal that nearly a month after the State Senate descended into chaos, he’s back pushing the suburban strategy of talking about ways to reduce property taxes.
But now there’s a twist: the legislative session ended this year with the only tangible accomplishment being a bill drafted and pushed by Andrew Cuomo, tacitly understood to be Paterson’s most likely potential rival. As he announced a grant to facilitate vehicle consolidation in Ulster County, he praised Cuomo as “great,” before moving on to his own suburban agenda.
“Last week I signed the local government consolidation bill, and I can’t thank the members of the Commission on Local Government Consolidation for being here today and their service over the last few years,” Paterson said at the event, according to a tape. “I’d also like to thank our great attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, who gave his own personal service to trying to get this legislation passed. This type of legislation will reduce waste, it will lower the cost of doing business and it will lower property taxes.”
Paterson signed the bill last week without fanfare.
“That’s part of the way we can start consolidating our local governments, but we’re also going to have to reduce, put a cap on our state spending,” Paterson continued. “We’re going to have to put a cap on our property taxes. We’re going to have look at the cost of our pension systems over the next few years, and we are obviously going to have to reduce those mandates that force government to spend money and then pass it along to consumers in terms of property taxes.”
There might even be a need, he added, to “look at ways we can consolidate the agencies in terms of state government.”