So much for any tax savings!

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

The Fiscal Year 2018 State Budget includes a mandate known as the Countywide Shared Services Initiative (CWSSI) plan. As explained by the governor in May, it requires the leaders of sixty-two cities, fifty-seven counties, 932 towns, 545 villages, 632 school districts and about 70 independent school districts to identify shared opportunities that will yield taxpayer savings. More than a gentle …

We voted

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

Two days’ before Election Day, I used my web page to encourage a vote in favor of Ballot Proposal # 1. If approved, through the establishment of a properly managed convention, serious debate would have been possible to amend some critical aspects of state constitution that are begging for attention. Unfortunately, give or take a few souls, 2,711,000 (out of …

Providing a wake-up call to policy makers

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

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 …

When you vote in November

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

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 Peterson0 Comments

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 Peterson0 Comments

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 …

Stop playing games with other people’s money

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

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 Peterson0 Comments

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 Peterson0 Comments

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 …

And the winner is!

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

If you watched the Emmy’s back in September you may well recall that the “Game of Thrones,” a fantasy drama television series won the Outstanding Drama Series award.  Why limit the idea of awards to just television? In Albany, over the past year or so, we witnessed an equal share of drama associated with the performance of our public officials’ …