ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week claimed credit for getting local governments to the table to discuss ways of sharing services and reducing property taxes in the process.
"We made them meet, we made them come up with a plan for shared services. We did it on a relatively quick time basis. But they have come back with ideas for savings," he said.
Since his days as attorney general, Cuomo has pushed local governments to reduce costs by consolidating and sharing services. Fiscal experts disagree with Cuomo's premise that the proliferation of governments is to blame with the high costs of taxes, but Cuomo says pushing local governments to share doesn't hurt.
"They weren't anxious to do it. Why? Because every local government has its own political reality," Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, fewer local governments are finding themselves in difficult financial situations, even as the state's tax cap has led to flat increases in revenue.
"I think they've really been working on tightening their belts because if you don't have these additional revenues coming in, you have to take a very close look at what you're spending money on," said Gabriel Deyo, the deputy comptroller of Local Government, School Accountability.
The state comptroller's office this week released its annual report on the fiscal stress of the state's municipal governments, finding 27 face problems. But there has been a decline in those numbers since the reports started being published.
"For schools there has been more revenue, but for the ones we're reporting right now, there has not been an increase in state assisted revenue," said Deyo.
There are similarities for the local governments who have persistent budget problems.
"They have a low fund balance, often opeating deficits and they have to issue debt to get them through the year," Deyo said.
Most local governments are due to finalize their budgets by the end of the year.