Without a shred of sympathy, state Gov. Andrew Cuomo told municipal leaders last week to hunker down and deal with the hand they have been dealt. There is no relief coming from Albany.
"For many years, they just put their hands deeper into the pockets of taxpayers and the taxpayers have left," the governor, at right, said Monday.
Like it or not, the governor was correct. Generous locally approved contracts, continued wasteful spending and a lack of tough choices in the past have led upstate, specifically Western New York, on the brink of doomsday.
During the Gov. Pataki years, spending George would come to the rescue for the status quo, which was almost always for the worse, not better. Cuomo, however, will not repeat those erroneous ways.
He wants locally elected leaders - those chosen by residents in the region - to figure it out. Government in upstate is too big and too numerous. Until the choices of efficiency are made, cities, villages, counties and towns will continue to struggle. That sense is not going away.
Cuomo also noted that "raising taxes is not an option." Don't tell that to the city of Dunkirk, which is proposing a double whammy that includes a property tax hike and fee increases for water usage as well.
But that, of course, is not the current city administration's fault. It's because of past leadership.
OK, city Democrats. When has Cuomo blamed the state's shortcomings on any past leader since taking over?
He has not.
Local leaders would do better to look to the future, talk to their neighbors and fix what ails this region instead of reading a history of failing initiatives from the past to constituents.
The problem today? Area leaders are trying to annually save municipalities and governments that are wasteful - to the tune of not knowing about a $99,000 bill in Fredonia - and do not need to exist.
For the most part, we have an excellent public work force and excellent communities. Why would we all not be better - and working together - as one?