School Choice Advancing in Nation, but Not in NY *

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

School choice gives parents a measure of control over the quality of their child’s education. Every Choice program uses an amount of money that’s far less than the amount spent per public school pupil. Hence, school choice not only benefits all students, but also benefits all taxpayers. School choice can take several forms: (1) vouchers/scholarships provided to parents for their …

House of cards – Who is next?

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

I recently posted to this web site a column published in the LI Herald titled “Municipal Bankruptcy Could Set a National Precedent.” It focused attention on the City of San Bernardino that is withholding pension payments to the sixth-largest pension fund in the world, the California Public Employees Retirement System. Reason, they simply do not have the money, and are …

Important legislation introduced in the State Senate

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Following suggestions introduced last Fall, State Senator Dean G. Skelos (Temporary President and Majority Coalition Leader 9th Senate District) introduced on Feb 28th legislation that would establish a New York State Independent Budget Office (LBO) to provide an objective, non-partisan and timely analysis of state revenues, expenditures and management practices balanced in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This …

Double Dipping: A pension and a paycheck

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

New York State law is written to allow sitting New York State Legislators (elected before 1995) to collect retirements benefits while still working. As a result Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), age 66 returns to Albany next week collecting full pay $91,000 + and a pension of approximately $50,000.   Something is seriously amiss. Anyone who is lucky enough to have …

City and State Politics

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Pleased to announce (using Goggle analytics to map performance) an improving trend of site usage, return visits and retention time. This is especially important with State Senator Dean Skelos announcing (last week) that he has formed a new coalition government, combining the Senate Republican Conference with the Independent Democratic Conference, led by Sen. Jeff Klien. As part of the deal, …

What’s not to like? Let’s do it in New York!

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Four advocacy groups recently joined hands, to once again encourage Governor Cuomo to act on their recommendation to use of the Internet to facilitate the processing of all New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests. This law specifies that “a free society is maintained only when the government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the …

New York State local governments in fiscal stress!

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

With a growing number of local governments facing significant fiscal stress, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced on Sept. 24th plans to implement an early warning “monitoring system” that would identify municipalities and school districts experiencing signs of budgetary strain so that corrective action can be taken before a full financial crisis occurs. DiNapoli’s office intends to distribute the details …

An Imminent Financial Crisis!

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

During the fiscal year 2011-12, the state comptroller’s office collected and analyzed more than 4,000 annual financial reports filed by local governments, school districts, public authorities and special taxing districts to determine liquidity, reliance on one-time revenues, levels of short-term debt and occurrences of non-discretionary spending etc. The results of this examination were just released in a report titled “New …

DiNapoli: IDA Reform Needed

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

As noted in my May 22nd “Breaking News” posting, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently issued a critical performance evaluation of public benefit corporations.  To address an extensive array of problems he is now calling for legislation to encourage some 114 Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) “to do a better job of highlighting the economic benefits of the projects that receive tax …

You’re Right to Know!

In Breaking News by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

When Governor Cuomo ran for office he vowed to “operate the most transparent administration in New York State history.” In the process of doing so, as reported in Breaking News on April 10th, he set up a new web site to field (in chat room fashion) questions from New Yorkers on a personal level. Unfortunately, as reported in the New …