As promised: keeping tabs

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “We made a difference.” The quote appeared in a June 27 Newsday story explaining how Andrew, Dean (Skelos) and Sheldon (Silver) fared in the past tumultuous legislative session that came to a close last week. The paper’s overall assessment is positive, with the New York Post also crediting the governor with “political skills, the likes of which …

Stop the shenanigans

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In the course of producing guest columns for the Herald, I’ve had an opportunity to review the political machinations evident in Albany in some detail. My first eight columns left little doubt that a wide range of serious problems preclude the possibility of an effective, efficient government. Our newly elected governor addressed these concerns in his “State of the State” …

Silly you! The budget passed.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

On March 31, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced “historic” budget reforms that will slash $10 billion in current spending, assuming a redesign of state government, creation of efficiencies through consolidation, capping spending increases for education and Medicaid and transforming the budgeting process going forward. Additional reductions totaling $45.3 billion are forecast through 2015, of which 86% involves less aid to localities. …

Putting the brakes on unfunded state mandates

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

In his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized two committees, one reviewing Medicaid spending; the second, needed relief from costly and burdensome state mandates. As I mentioned in my last column, “Reforming Medicaid: It’s a ‘slam dunk?” (March 10-16, 2011) the committee addressing Medicaid passed along to the Legislature 79 “cost saving” recommendations which, if adopted, could …

Reforming Medicaid: It’s a ‘slam dunk?’

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

I have to admit, I’m having a problem understanding how, in just 33 working days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team was able to recommend 79 cost cutting measures to save $2.3 billion in the upcoming budget. I’ll address this concern from three viewpoints. Medicaid is the United States health program for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. …

Reforming Albany: Now, the rest of the story

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

My last column, “Stop playing games with the budget deficit (Feb 3) was written one week before Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state’s comptroller, issued his analysis of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget draft.. The irrationality I outlined fell short of anticipating the following mea-culpa expressed in the current comptroller’s analysis “The SFY 2010-2011 enacted budget relied on $16.7 …

‘Stop playing games with the budget deficit’

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

On April 5, New York state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released a report showing that the state has, for decades, masked budget deficits by “shifting funds dedicated to a specific cause or program to provide one-time influxes of cash for the General Fund.” Net result: it is impossible to pin down the state’s real fiscal condition. He stated that every …

Albany’s fiscal crisis and the road to redemption

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

The Aug. 12 issue of the Herald alerted readers that I was a “Man on a Mission” calling for the reform of New York’s dysfunctional state government. Sounds like a promo for one of those serial flicks we used to see as kids on Saturday afternoons. Who is this ‘masked man’ who has the audacity and the tenacity to continually …

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 …