Cost-Cutting

Politicians in Albany and Hauppauge find it easy to promote shrinking government when it is not their own government they are shrinking. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has long tried to squeeze local municipalities and school districts through a formula capping the amount that taxes can be raised from year to year. This dictate has come from on high with little in the way of state aid or guidance. Do it or else, the governor seems to say. There is a planned dollar-match program in the works for 2018, and perhaps it should be no surprise that next year is when Mr. Cuomo may begin his long-anticipated bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a governor from a high-tax state, he may well plan to point to his signature tax cap for political cover.

Now, Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone is getting in on the act. He is planning a series of meetings next month to personally pitch the smaller-government idea to local officials. A Bellone staffer told Newsday that money savings might be found if towns shared wastewater pump-out boats or pooled computer services. These are worthwhile ideas, but hardly  would make a real difference for taxpayers.

For property owners on eastern Long Island, the greatest share of taxes goes to the schools, but neither Mr. Cuomo nor Mr. Bellone seems willing to take this on. Parents, especially on the East End, generally like their tiny districts, even though the cost cuts after consolidations could be large. If Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Bellone want to get serious about saving money, the schools are the place to start, just don’t expect them to take on this sacred cow anytime soon.