Miner: Freeze Wages, Property Taxes Now

Oswego, NY – Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says there is strong support for most of Governor Cuomo's agenda among her constituents.

"And I can tell you in terms of on the ground in Syracuse and in Central New York, people are hungry for reform and they're hungry for change and the governor is talking about that," Miner says. "So the people are really saying, We're in a crisis, let's use this crisis to make sure we have better government, more jobs and a better New York at the end of it.'"

Miner strongly favors Cuomo's property tax cap proposal.

"The property tax cap is needed now," she says. "We are not going to be able to raise taxes on people who are hurting already to help us continue to feed this beast."

And, like many municipal and county officials, Miner says starving the beast has to start in Albany with mandate relief, otherwise it will bankrupt local governments.

"The system that's set up in place now really does tie our hands," Miner says. "Whether it's compulsory interest arbitration or pension costs or any of those things, as local leaders we do not have an ability to control our costs."

But she says the tax cap shouldn't wait on mandate reform because the governor's new commissions on Medicaid and mandates are just getting going.

"Here in my city, one of our primary institutions and primary economic development institutions are healthcare institutions. If you just slash Medicaid for the sake of slashing it and you don't think about the impact, you're going to have scores and scores of people out of work, people who are not getting services," Miner says.

In the meantime, she says, one thing the governor can do is to freeze wages across the board.

"That would give us some temporary help to really start looking at the trends that are causing property taxes to increase, while we're saying let's look at Medicaid, let's look at compulsory interest arbitration, let's talk about a locality's ability to pay for fire and police and those kind of services, at the same time as we look at issues like consolidation and shared services," Miner says.

Miner appeared on "The Capitol pressroom" with Susan Arbetter today.

You can hear that entire broadcast at this link:

http://thecapitolpressroom.org/the-capitol-pressroom-program-for-january-18-2011/ .