Reaching for the stars

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

The 1966 movie “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” earned 3 Oscar nominations including one for best picture. The premise, a Russian submarine runs aground near a small New England town rousing hilarious invasion concerns. On Sunday May 2nd, Governor Andrew Cuomo sounded a mega-buster alarm. No, the Russians are not coming! It’s President Donald Trump and the …

Tracking Government Revenue and Spending

In Breaking News, Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has created a new organization to analyze government spending and revenue.  Why? Because he couldn’t find a single source that combined all the relevant local, state and federal numbers in one, easy to use place. Access to this information can be viewed using USAFacts.org.  

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s School Bonus.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Act 10 let schools pay better teachers more, and learning increased. WSJ – Jan. 29, 2017 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s collective-bargaining reforms have saved taxpayers money, and now a study finds that by rewarding the best teachers they are also improving learning. The 2011 Wisconsin law, known as Act 10, limited collective bargaining to base wages while letting school districts …

Hat’s Off to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Both New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took office on January 1st of 2011. In their respective “State of the State” addresses: Democratic Gov. Cuomo promised to take on the state’s huge financial problems stating “there is no more time to waste, it is time for deeds, not words, and results, not rhetoric. It is …

Job Creation Folly!

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

On October 22, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched a “game-changing” initiative called “Start- Up-NY.” Considered then the most ambitious economic development program in recent history, the program established tax-free zones to attract and grow new businesses across the state creating an estimated 30,000 new private sector jobs. Vision, the “leveraging of our world-class SUNY system and prestigious private universities …

What next from Andrew the Munificent?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

I couldn’t resist using the above headline, printed in Newsday on January 7th and written by William F.B. O’Reilly, a Republican consultant in this column. The writer criticizes  the governor’s recent announcement to fund “free college education at SUNY and CUNY for every state resident making less than $125,000,”and in effect, promising enough people whatever they want – no matter …

Antics and Semantics

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Last November, Governor Cuomo participated in the temporary reopening of a GAP warehouse located in Fishkill, New York. The reason, according to his press release, with the infusion of $2.65 million in State Funding (approved by the Legislature) he stopped the company from relocating to Tennessee, saving approximately 1,000 jobs. Assuming the funding is nothing more than a helpful loan, …

Electing Great Leaders

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

The jacket cover for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “The Bully Pulpit” – Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, reads in part as follows: During the years 1890-1920, “the gap between rich and poor has never been wider….legislative stalemate paralyzes the country….corporations resist federal regulations….spectacular mergers produce giant companies….the influence of money in politics deepens…bombs explode …

Chasing Rainbows: The On-Going Saga of Public Authority Agency Reform

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Introduction Public authorities have always had a controversial history in New York State. Responsible for the  maintenance of the state’s most important infrastructure, including bridges, state dormitories, airports, mass transit, housing etc. they are known for excessive and wasteful spending, massive accumulation of debt, a lack of transparency, and last but not least weak governance. Public authorities are state-chartered public …

Drowning Democracy

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Last December, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, a Democrat representing lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn released a report explaining how some 11,000 Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) have transformed into personal piggy banks contributing near-unlimited sums of money to political candidates of their choice, often anonymously. His report has one clear message. In doing so, they routinely violate the …