ALBANY—Here's another web tool unveiled this morning by the Business Council and right-leaning Empire Center: a site that lets you track and compare tax and spending rates for any town or village in the state outside of New York City.
The agenda here is simple: both organizations think taxes are too high, were upset with the enacted state budget and are hoping to see restructuring and paring of government in the state.
It's interesting, then, that the press release announcing the new site included shout-outs from two statewide elected officials – both Democrats – with similarly themed, taxpayer-funded, web platforms. Here it is:
Benchmarking New York was welcomed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has boosted transparency with his Project Sunlight website and has promoted home rule reforms allowing voters to seek consolidation of duplicative local governments and services.
"Benchmarking New York compliments my own efforts to give the tools to New Yorkers to find efficiencies and empower communities to reform their local governments," Cuomo said. "This smart new resource provides useful information on local governments in every corner of the state. I applaud the creation of this powerful new tool that gives the people of the state a broader understanding of how their tax dollars are spent."
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, whose Open Book website makes available the source data used by Benchmarking New York, also applauded the project.
"The more New Yorkers know about how their government works, the better and more accountable their government will be," DiNapoli said. "Every dime counts, especially when they're taxpayer dimes. Last fall, my office posted local government information on our Open Book New York Web site. Benchmarking New York is the next step forward. It's a powerful new Web tool that opens the door and lets the public see how their local governments are spending those dimes. My office will continue to cooperate with Benchmarking New York to ensure the site has up to date information for every New Yorker to examine."