The Consolidation Contradiction

New York State has established itself over time as a nationally recognized leader for red tape, overregulation and its stifling business climate. So why is Gov. Cuomo aiming to create yet another unnecessary layer of government?
 
The governor’s Executive Budget proposal looks to form a new agency, the New York State Design and Construction Corp., to review large-scale infrastructure projects costing more than $50 million. As someone who has personally owned and run a business, I know from firsthand experience that increasing the size and involvement of government translates into delays and waste.
 
A WALKING CONTRADICTION
 
Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly called for municipal consolidation as a way to lower property taxes. Although ending unfunded mandates is the real answer, “consolidation” has been his response to the property-tax crisis New Yorkers face.  
 
But on the state’s biggest, most important infrastructure projects, the consolidation approach apparently does not apply. Creating this agency, which will actually be a subsidiary of the Dormitory Authority run by hand-picked appointees, espouses the exact opposite sentiment he has regularly preached.  
 
In addition, this maneuver would likely provide the governor with greater influence over “independent” agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Thruway Authority. His pattern of continually seeking to concentrate power at the expense of sound policy is alarming, especially when it will only create more inefficiency.
 
NEW YORKERS’ INTERESTS MUST BE AT HEART OF ALL DECISIONS
 
The governor should, instead, be focused on maximizing the effectiveness of the agencies and departments he already oversees. For example – instead of creating a new agency, why hasn’t the Thruway Authority created a spending plan for the $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridget project? Adding more layers of government oversight is not the way to make government better, faster and more transparent.
 
If the governor was serious about improving New York’s infrastructure he would be focused on funding much-needed road and bridge repairs, especially upstate. In addition, the taxpayers who fund these projects would not have to search for answers on how their money is being spent.
 
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal enumerated the concerns of those on both sides of the aisle. Concerns were raised by people of varying backgrounds and expertise, from government officials to private entities that follow state policies. New York State does not need another agency. At a time when infrastructure repairs, improvement and growth are vital to the sustained economic success of New York, I have grave concerns that the governor has again put politics above policy; an all too familiar theme of his administration. 
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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