Kuddos to the Observer-Dispatch

The editorial board of The Utica Observer-Dispatch has hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head in calling for a metro government to replace the current hodge-podge of entities that serve their circulation area in today’s editorial.

One of the things that’s just killing New York’s future is the fact that we are stuck with a 19th century political infrastructure. We have too many local government entities the logic for which went out when every family was able to afford a car. Today when every adult in every family has his/her own car, a cell-phone and a computer, all those governmental jurisdictions represent a hugely inefficient and out-of-control expensive way to run our public sector.

Why? Local entities lack the resources including human skills to take advantage of modern technology to obtain, manage and disseminate information, to administer policy and to resolve problems. Second, we pay the cost of overlapping jurisdictions which love to quarrel over who gets to decide the speed limit for a two-block stretch of road or whether a sign can be 8 feet or 10 feet high. Sound familiar?

P.S.: Add in the pension obligations that weak-kneed legislators bless the under-productive public employees of all those jurisdictions with and we are stuck with a future where we can’t afford to do anything pro-active because we’re stuck paying for the past.

Here’s how the O-D says it: “We must stay competitive and affordable — two key elements in stabilizing and growing population. That means whittling down layers of government we no longer can afford.”

In recent years the state has made it easier (but not easy) for local governments to consolidate. MORE MUST BE DONE! I recommend that we incentivize local governments to merge. Give them more aid and tax breaks when they do so. It’s an investment that will pay off many times over — like starting a 401(k) when you’re in your 20’s.

Stay on the case O-D. This is a do or die issue for all of upstate NY.


One Response to Kuddos to the Observer-Dispatch

  1. Douglas Boettner says:

    Peter, as you know I have been campaigning for this to happen for almost a decade. There is several good reasons to do it. There are no good reasons not to do it. There just aren’t any champions in the State legislature these days to get it started. The more successes there are at consolidation, maybe the more pressure will build to do it more often.

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