Most will agree that the state needs to make cuts. Big cuts. We just don't want those cuts made in our own backyard.
So it goes with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to eliminate $1.2 million that funds the Tug Hill Commission. Difficult as it might be to accept, it's a layer of government that we can - and must - do without. Ditto similar organizations we can no longer afford.
The Tug Hill Commission, created in 1972, serves 41 towns and 21 villages in Oneida, Oswego, Lewis and Jefferson counties, and also works closely with five councils of government by offering help with planning, decision making, grant writing and other efforts. The state funding is used primarily to pay for the commission's 17 staff members.
But it and commissions and agencies of similar ilk are the kind of government growth that has helped get this state into the financial mess that it's in. While these organizations can always find ways to justify themselves, creating layers of government to serve other layers of government has become a taxpayers' nightmare.
If a region's communities share similar problems and concerns, by all means leaders of those communities should discuss them. For instance, Remsen town Supervisor Clifford Hill said the commission is helpful because it allows his town to stay informed about what other similar municipalities are doing.
You don't need a $1.2 million facilitator to do that. Given today's technology, sharing thoughts and ideas on issues affecting one community or another is only a few keystrokes away. Leaders also could plan annual or biannual strategy sessions where they could come together to share thoughts and ideas.
One thing that is disturbing about Cuomo's proposal to scrap the Tug Hill group is that other commissions and agencies on the chopping block will be reviewed first. This is where the process gets silly - although nobody's laughing. Cuomo has actually created a commission - the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission - to review the necessity of other commissions.
It's a bit ironic that the governor would create a layer of government to review layers of government that watch over other layers of government. Is it any wonder why New York is in the shape it's in? If the Tug Hill Commission can be eliminated with the wave of an arm, so can others. Just get rid of them. We have a $10 billion deficit to deal with.
- The Utica Observer-Dispatch,
Feb. 21, 2011