Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she’s not sure whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s financial restructuring panel will benefit municipalities. She said they need policy changes.
“It’s not about recommendations as much as it is changing the policies that are driving these outcomes,” said Miner, the co-chairwoman of the state Democratic Committee who has been critical of Cuomo’s solutions for local governments. “And will this restructuring panel have the ability to change policies? I don’t know.”
Earlier this year, Miner called out Cuomo on his pension-smoothing proposal for municipalities, saying it’s a temporary solution and could lead to higher costs in future years. She has warned that upstate cities face financial peril because costs are outpacing revenue.
In an interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau, she said she’s pleased that Cuomo is taking the issue seriously and hopeful the panel can remedy some of local governments’ woes. But she warned that the problems are structural: 70 percent of the city’s health care and pension costs go to police and fire services.
“When you talk about a restructuring panel, the city of Syracuse doesn’t have a debt problem. We have an operating expense problem. So how can you restructure operating expenses?” she said.
But she added, “The fact that they are having discussions about this and people are talking about it is a good step.”
Here’s some video of Cuomo outlining his plan: