ALBANY—In February, when his proposal to pare the size of local governments was still just in PowerPoint, Andrew Cuomo stood alongside billionaire Tom Golisano in an auditorium on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Golisano endorsed Cuomo's plan, calling it an "innovative proposal that will help reduce the overbearing tax burden in this state." Now that Cuomo's plan is moving toward law, Golisano might be an important supporter for making the legislation–which is without mandates–actually have results.
"He's very excited about it," said Steve Pigeon, who runs Golisano's P.A.C., Responsible New York. Cuomo's legislation allows voters to petition for a referendum to dissolve local government bodies–like towns, villages or special districts. Someone like Golisano is able to put money behind the cause, theoretically rallying citizens to vote away levels of government.
I asked Pigeon if Golisano would direct money toward the cause, which at least one bill opponent has said he's worried about.
"Certainly it's a possibility," he said. "He's said in the past he wants to see smaller government, and certainly it's something that would be up our alley."
When he announced his decision to technically move to Florida, Golisano said he would still like to play a role in New York politics.