Abolish County Government in New York State

The current Erie County budget fiasco has underscored a very evident truth. County government is redundant. We don't need it. It's wasteful and inefficient. Right now, county taxpayers are leading a revolt against higher sales taxes. Our sales tax already ranks among the highest in the nation. People have had enough. Our property taxes are 72% higher than the national average. For what? There is not one service that county government provides that cannot be administered at the state or municipal level. Parks? Revert to the State or town in which they're situated. Libraries? Revert to the municipalities in which they're situated. School Nurses? How obvious. Administration by the local board of ed. Medicaid? Let the state pay for its own mandates. Health Services? Why is county government in that business to begin with? As for the Sheriff: the deputies become State employees. The Sheriff himself is elected from within the physical boundaries of the county he'll administer, but he becomes a State employee, too. County Clerk elected from Erie County by Erie County, but the office and staff are de jure NYS employees. Ditto the D.A.'s office: elected from Erie County by Erie County, but the office and staff are NYS employees. Roads? State DOT appoints a regional infrastructure administrator who oversees local plowing, repairs, etc. These would be state employees, as well. The upshot? No more 15 legislators, with their $150,000 in pork spending, and their staffs. No more county executive playing politics, and turning the area into an even bigger laughingstock. No more Ray Dusza telling me to put up with one more "lousy penny." No more Chuck Swanick and his stupid sweater. No more Al DeBenedetti smiling for the camera. No more Mike Bogulski telling me to can it because taxes are too low. Imagine a 5% sales tax, with clothes and food being exempt. Imagine the state taking responsibility for its hitherto-unfunded mandates, and bringing them under control. Imagine a lower property tax bill, with the costs of running the state being spread out more equitably. Massachusetts did it. Why can't we?

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