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Cantatore, Sarah, Zach Cunningham, and Michelle Muschett. (2014). "Collaboration between Unions, Citizens, and Municipalities Toward a Common Narrative." Creative Responses to Fiscal Stress Project, Dept. of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University.

Local governments in New York State are facing unprecedented challenges to financing public service provision. Various state policies in recent years have led to fiscal stress at the local level, which has negative consequences for municipalities, unions and citizens. One frame is that high property taxes and local government inefficiencies are the problem; but another frame points to declining state aid and increased state mandates that put local governments in a bind. In this report, we examine how local leaders and unions can work together to reframe the narrative to highlight the impact of state austerity policy and the critical role local government services play in ensuring quality of life in our communities. We highlight principles that can lead to successful collaboration between municipalities, unions and citizens to reframe the narrative around local government efficiency and state austerity. We profile successful cases of collaboration between municipalities and unions, including innovative examples from Rochester, Buffalo, and Canada.

The presentation of this report presented at the State Austerity Policy and Creative Local Response (2014) conference is available. Additionally, an executive summary is also available.

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