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Cuomo releases tax-cap message

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo tells New Yorkers in a video message that it's a good idea to consolidate governments — exactly what Potsdam residents will vote on tomorrow.

"A major reason that property taxes in New York are so high is that we have too many local governments," Mr. Cuomo says in the message, whose main subject was the property-tax cap. "We have more than ten thousand five hundred governments across this state. That's wasteful and very, very expensive."

Potsdam residents will vote tomorrow on dissolving the village government and combining it with the town. Polls indicate that it's unlikely to happen, due to concerns about losing out on the village's police department.

On the property tax cap,. Mr. Cuomo said that New Yorkers can choose whether to raise or lower their property taxes. While that's not exactly the case, he does include a salient caveat: If you want control over your property taxes, you have to show up.

"It is critical that you and your neighbors get involved," he said. "That you have the conversation. I urge you to be there when your local government's budget is being debated."

That's because of the way that the property tax cap is structured. Your local government board can override the cap with a 60 percent vote. In some places, like a five-member board, that's a simple majority.

But if residents are hooting and hollering about their taxes and imploring their electeds to stay within the cap, and a certain date is coming up (oh, say, Nov. 8), they're much more likely to listen.

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