Summary of Audit completed by the Authorities Budget Office 10/23/17

In Audit Findings by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Subject: Status of IDA Completed Projects Purpose:              To determine the status of the projects after financial assistance ended and whether the projects achieved the expected results for the assistance granted by IDAs include low interest tax-exempt or taxable bonds, mortgage recording tax exemptions, sales tax exemptions, and real property tax exemptions. Scope:                  403 projects were reported as completed …

Providing a wake-up call to policy makers

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Retiree Benefits Face a Crunch Starting in fiscal year 2018, new widely followed Governmental Accounting Standards Board principles will urge officials to record all health-care liabilities on their balance sheets instead of pushing a portion of debt to footnotes. This change will highlight that U.S. states as a group have promised hundreds of billions more in retiree health benefits than …

You’re November 7th vote

In From the Desk Of by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In a few days’ we will be asked to consider amending the New York State Constitution. Short of a miracle, it is not likely to happen. Why? A short list. One, media emphasis has been lacking and most individuals are unware of it even being a ballot issue, possibly minimizing support. Two, opponents i.e. organized labor groups’ across the board, …

When you vote in November

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

When you vote in November The above photo shows on the left the faces of some 25 elected New York state officials sentenced to prison or house arrest since 2003. On the lower right, former Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver leaving court after being sentenced to 12 years in prison. The young man (upper right) is State Senator Robert …

Constitutional Conventions: A Political Boondoggle?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Back on July 20th, the LI Herald published a column titled “A convention could be good for New York – or not.” It raised the following point i.e. “you would think that holding a convention to review and rewrite the New York State Constitution would be a no-brainer.” It is obviously not. Our Constitution, one of the longest and most …

Barking up the wrong tree

In Columns by Hal Peterson1 Comment

Each week, The Herald, a Long Island community newspaper publishes a column written by former state senator Alfonse D’Amato. The following caught my attention. “Our economy: If it’s gonna break, don’t wait to fix it.” Why, he considers Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. electric car company an overvalued unsustainable money losing operation; and, his “Solar City” venture in Buffalo an aberration …

New York constitutional convention vote raises hopes, fears

In From the Desk Of by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Newsday New York constitutional convention vote raises hopes, fears August 26, 2017 By Michael Gormley  michael.gormley@newsday.com   The 1777 convention, which wrote the first state constitution, rejected an attempt to end slavery. Members of New York’s first constitutional convention assemble in front of the courthouse in Kingston on April 20 of that year to listen to the convention secretary as he read …

Stop playing games with other people’s money

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

The following two sentences head up a column published in June by the Journal News, a Westchester County newspaper.  (1) “New York taxpayers will have to make up $700 million in tax breaks given to private companies, part of an economic machine that promises thousands of jobs in return.” (2) “It’s a system that revolves around more than 100 local, …

Even Fairy Tales have to come to an end

In Columns by Hal Peterson1 Comment

Peter Pan, in the musical “Finding Neverland,” sprinkled stardust across a number of imaginative stages. Governor Cuomo is now on stage (wand in hand) focusing on revamping our infrastructure to 21st century standards, spending some $100 billion in construction costs. Central to this plan is the $20 billion Gateway Project that will connect travelers from across the Northeast with New …

Que Sera` Sera`

In Columns by Hal Peterson1 Comment

Both former State Senator Dean Skelos and former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver are hoping to overcome their 2015 convictions based on the 2016 Supreme Court ruling reversing the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Not so for New York State Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. currently serving 14 more years’ in a federal prison. On July 7th, the U.S. Court of …