The House of Representatives Meddling in NYS Internal Fiscals

March 22, 2017 Budget

I’m analyzing NYS options if the AHCA becomes law including the amendment pushed by Congressmen Collins and Faso. I’ll post that later today. For some context and history, it will be useful to read this post from five years ago. Note that the number in the earlier post is $8 billion while the estimated effect […]

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Debt Markers for Selected Upstate NYS Cities

January 19, 2015 Budget

Continuing the discussion regarding the City of Albany, one of the participants was concerned about debt and the potential for taking on excess amounts. That’s always a legitimate concern. So I ran some comparisons. In the first, for selected cities in New York, you’ll see a really good indicator. That is debt service (principle and interest) as […]

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Well, What Do They Spend Their (& Your & My) Tax Dollars On?

January 17, 2015 Budget

 Triggered by some upstate mayors, there’s an interesting debate emerging locally in the City of Albany. And, it’s pertinent to many more cities than Albany. It started at a SCAA Forum on inequality (which was quite good, and to which I’ll return, but which is not the main subject of this post). Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of […]

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The Rising Cost of Ignorance in Local Government Finance

February 5, 2014 Bond Rating

And here’s a really nice summary by Liz Farmer of why the cost of ignorance is rising in local government finance: Financial Illiteracy: One of Government’s Biggest and Least Discussed Problems. Yes, it’s more eat your fruits and vegetables stuff but … Don’t be surprised, as some have been even when their actions are legal, […]

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Reducing Ignorance in Local Government Finance

February 5, 2014 Bond Rating

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Budgeting for the Future: Fiscal Planning Tools Can Show the Way (PDF), by Elizabeth C McNichol, Vincent Palacios, and Nicholas Johnson. Ten tools: Multi-Year Forecasts of Revenues and Spending Fiscal Notes with Multi-Year Projections Current Services Baselines Independent Consensus Revenue Forecasts Independent Legislative Fiscal Agencies Independent Review […]

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FAA Airport Tower Closings

March 23, 2013 Budget

Being a former Air Force pilot and still something of an aviation geek, I’m checking this list to see which of these airports – whose towers will be closed – I’ve landed at. All these closures are due to the Federal Budget cutbacks built into the “Sequester,” non-thinking, across-the-board cuts. Tower closures do not equate […]

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Enhancing Our NYS Interactive Budget Visualization

January 28, 2013 Budget

We’ve added some new screens to our interactive visualization of the New York State Budget. You’ll find two new screens showing historical change by functions and a screen that shows the estimated current and proposed levels of full-time equivalent employees. Next up? Adding receipts/revenues and some other functionality. And most important, from time-to-time, we’ll actually […]

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Empire Center’s Tool on the NYS Budget

January 25, 2013 Budget

The Empire Center‘s SeeThroughNY has created and put online a new tool for examining New York’s Budget. It features: A nice, clean interface Ability to download the data into Excel files Trendline graphics Popup explanations and definitions of some terms and titles, e.g., the difference between “All Funds” and “State Operating” funds. “Special Features,” which […]

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Opening New York’s Budget

January 24, 2013 Budget

We recently congratulated Governor Cuomo for his promoting data transparency in his State of the State message. Little did we know how quickly his administration was moving to actually take concrete steps to make it so. Yesterday’s Budget showed us not only that his commitment was serious, but that the staff of the State Division […]

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Unfunded Mandate? A Bad Idea Unless We Should Do That Ourselves

November 30, 2012 Budget

Of late, I’ve been trying to avoid Albany County issues. But sometimes, you just can’t. We’re now looking at a backdoor property tax increase by Albany County – and even with that, the County would not be able to stay within the property tax cap. The latest is that a group of Democrats are withholding […]

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