Cuomo report calls local governments antiquated and inefficient.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s transition team produced during his campaign a detailed and well- annotated report outlining plans for “Rightsizing Government.” The report’s findings and recommendations reiterates much of what the previous columns in this series have suggested: that New York state’s Public Authorities and agencies “have become too big, too expensive, and too ineffective – an ever proliferating tangle …

An open letter to State Senator Dean Skelos: “With all due respect, prove us wrong!

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Back in early August, I began to consider writing a series of columns on reforming New York’s dysfunctional state government. Friends and neighbors were not aware of my interest in this subject; others suggested no amount of disclosure could possibly make a difference. After writing five columns, I am surprised to find interest beyond expectation and, at the risk of …

The illusion of reform: What happened to change we can believe in?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

As I’ve mentioned in my four prior columns, our state authorities and agencies are not sufficiently accountable to the public. In the past decade alone there have been multiple reports by the State Comptroller’s office, governors’ commissions, and public sector watchdog groups about this. Efforts to legislate greater accountability by officials who have focused their attention on authorities have met …

Is New York State Insolvent?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

As the New York Times reported on Sept. 11, at the insistence of the S.E.C., “New Jersey agreed never again to fraudulently hide its underfunding of the states’ public pension system.” Hide or not, many states (including New York) have invested too little money in public pension funds. This represents a huge hidden liability for both current and future taxpayers. …

High debt and high taxes: Shouldn’t reform follow?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

It was during the 1930s, in the depth of the deft of the great Depression, that Robert Moses put public authorities on New York state’s map. Hailed at the time as “the man who can get things done,” Moses gained the consent of beleaguered politicians to create public authorities that would capture federal appropriations to restart a stalled economy. Using …

Someone’s gotta do something

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

As mentioned in my prior column, reforming state affairs will be easier said than done, requiring political support across party lines and leadership that has not been evident to date. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver recently commented “New Yorkers are frustrated with their government, with the economy, with politics, with the way things are today.” Not exactly a mea-cupla. Obviously, “Someone’s …

Reforming New York’s Dysfunctional State Government.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In 2004, the Brennan Center for Justice and New York University’s School of Law released a report calling the New York State Legislature as “the most dysfunctional state in the nation.” It was an excellent critique and its findings well founded. Unfortunately, the report was viewed in Albany as nothing more than the machinations of liberal political opportunists, hardly worth …

Is the bloom off the rose?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used the song “Happy days are here again!” in his successful presidential campaign. The lyrics evoke both optimism and buoyancy that was badly needed during the depression years to restore confidence in government planning and policy. In a press release issued on June 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo also accentuated the positive, announcing “progress on historic …