Last August, on the nineteenth day, the Democratic Union, the Democratic Clubs, the Democratic Veterans and the Democratic Lawyers of the State of New York met in their annual joint convention in the city of Elmira.
The outcome of that session was a historic resolution, adopted UNANIMOUSLY, which is known as the Elmira Declaration.
It pledged the entire Democratic Party of the State to a complete reform of our obsolete, cumbersome, ridiculous, extravagant and inefficient “system” of local and county government. The resolution said:
“The State of New York, outside of New York City, is divided into FIFTY-SEVEN COUNTIES, which are cut up into 932 towns, 59 cities and 535 villages, and in which there have been organized fire, water, lighting, sidewalk and improvement districts to the number of 2,467 districts and 9,504 school districts — a total number of 13,497 municipal units outside of New York City.
“Each levies taxes, the same property often being levied upon by FIVE OR MORE AUTHORITIES.
“The towns and counties alone have 15,000 OFFICIALS, mostly elective. There are OVER 11,000 tax collectors. They have been appropriately called the ‘regular army of occupation.’”
The tax burden of this devouring collection of governmental absurdities is rapidly becoming UNBEARABLE.
Demands for TAX REFORM are becoming more and more insistent.
But the plain fact is, NO tax reform can be extensive or really effective until the enormous expense of useless government is abolished.
The Legislature meets in January. The Democratic party should proceed FORTHWITH to carry out its Elmira Declaration — and the Republican Party should give its patriotic assistance to the reform.
This issue transcends party lines. The tax-oppressed people must have RELIEF from the ruinous burden — and the time for that relief is NOW.
Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Dec 15, 1933