‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over’

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Yogi Berra, who caught for the New York Yankees for over nineteen years, is known for his sage advice. Let’s consider how this particular “yogi-ism” applies to our political leaders in Albany and in particular, to State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C) from Elmira, NY. Why? He just announced that he will chair a “revamped” Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency …

“Legislating Ethics”

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

A good friend who is a retired attorney recommended I take a look at the new “Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011” (PIRA) that was a dominant theme of the governor pre-election ethics reform campaign. This legislation (S-5679-2011) was sponsored in the Senate by Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos will, using a memorandum just published by the compliance practice of …

‘Reform: Running on empty’

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

This column reviews the “Annual Report on Public Authorities in New York State,” just released by the Authorities Budget Office (ABO). Its publication is probably one of Albany’s best keep secrets. Produced by a professional and dedicated staff of internal auditors, the report clearly outlines why the reform legislation enacted over the past six years will not even come close …

Is regulatory reform working as intended?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

For a period of about two years leading up to the 2006 statewide elections, “public authority reform” gained increasing attention as an important policy issue. Why? The politicians in office at that time could no longer ignore some excellent investigative work completed by the Assembly’s Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions (born out of the Canal Corporation scandal) and two …

The 2011 New York state legislative session: What got done?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

My last two columns “As promised: keeping tabs” (June 30-July 6) and “Is the bloom off the rose?” (July 21 -27) provided information to evaluate the session-ending accomplishments of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Two fundamental questions were raised. Has there been a real transformation in the way the “people’s business” is …

As promised: keeping tabs

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “We made a difference.” The quote appeared in a June 27 Newsday story explaining how Andrew, Dean (Skelos) and Sheldon (Silver) fared in the past tumultuous legislative session that came to a close last week. The paper’s overall assessment is positive, with the New York Post also crediting the governor with “political skills, the likes of which …

Stop the shenanigans

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In the course of producing guest columns for the Herald, I’ve had an opportunity to review the political machinations evident in Albany in some detail. My first eight columns left little doubt that a wide range of serious problems preclude the possibility of an effective, efficient government. Our newly elected governor addressed these concerns in his “State of the State” …

Silly you! The budget passed.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

On March 31, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced “historic” budget reforms that will slash $10 billion in current spending, assuming a redesign of state government, creation of efficiencies through consolidation, capping spending increases for education and Medicaid and transforming the budgeting process going forward. Additional reductions totaling $45.3 billion are forecast through 2015, of which 86% involves less aid to localities. …

Putting the brakes on unfunded state mandates

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized two committees, one reviewing Medicaid spending; the second, needed relief from costly and burdensome state mandates. As I mentioned in my last column, “Reforming Medicaid: It’s a ‘slam dunk?” (March 10-16, 2011) the committee addressing Medicaid passed along to the Legislature 79 “cost saving” recommendations which, if adopted, could …

Reforming Medicaid: It’s a ‘slam dunk?’

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

I have to admit, I’m having a problem understanding how, in just 33 working days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team was able to recommend 79 cost cutting measures to save $2.3 billion in the upcoming budget. I’ll address this concern from three viewpoints. Medicaid is the United States health program for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. …