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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NYS Number of the Day: County Overhead Costs

August 27, 2012 Administration

What was reported by New York’s counties, excluding New York City for general government administration and operations and miscellaneous general government administrative costs in 2010? Another way to think of this is general overhead; it excludes administrative costs in program functions, e.g., public safety administration. We’ll do that calculation later. Though they are included for […]

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Legal Mandates? Let’s Ignore Them or Maybe Pick a Fight

August 27, 2012 County Government

For regrettably too many local officials in New York, the flip side the the “unfunded mandates” argument is “no mandates.” Aside from sheer ignorance, this takes a couple forms. The first is there’s no mandate, but we’ll spend a lot of money anyway, e.g., county nursing homes. The second, is there are mandates, but we’ll […]

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Doubling Down on Public Pension Investments

April 2, 2012 Budget

Pension costs going up faster than revenue? You have three choices: Raise taxes, cut spending on other items and pay more into your pension reserve. Those are certainly not politically attractive options, but as often as not, these are the options for grown-ups. Reduce pension liabilities by reducing pensions promised. These are politically ugly options, […]

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Back by Popular Request – The Geography of Medicaid Spending

February 23, 2012 Geography

From a while back, but evidently still reality: From one county to another, from one community to the next, there are substantial variations in per capita spending on Medicaid patients. This geographic variation in Medicaid spending offers us a substantial opportunity to identify opportunities to control spending while doing minimal harm or even by improving […]

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Unfunded Mandates?

August 2, 2011 Budget

A major complaint of counties in New York, even before the State imposed a cap (porous, but a cap) on increases in property taxes, the constant refrain was that the State mandated a host of requirements that generate costs, but which the State doesn’t pay at least part of it. However, about 40 counties operate […]

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County Spending Animated

March 22, 2011 Expenditures

Per capita expenditures animated by county (excluding the five counties of New York City). (Flash required.)NYS County Expend per Capita 1998-2009.swf. Experiment with the scales, speed and labeling.

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More on New York County Finances, and Not Just Nassau

March 21, 2011 Budget

A few days ago, we looked at debt in New York counties (excluding New York City). We found that using several debt measures such as debt per county resident, Nassau County, which is in budgetary trouble, is an outlier. But of course, there are many other things that we might look at and the most […]

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