Curran’s ludicrous spending cuts and inappropriate refinancing plans

In Columns by Hal Peterson1 Comment

Introduction: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a scaled-down $3.3 billion budget for 2021, proposing tens of millions of dollars in spending cuts; and, the refinancing of hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to avoid a looming financial crisis. Assessment: The use of the noun “looming” is very misleading. The ‘mirage” suggested has morphed to calamity status, with the …

Despite Coronavirus Budget Crunch, Albany Didn’t Lock Down the Pork Barrel

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Despite a fiscal crisis that led Governor Cuomo to withhold aid payments for school districts and local governments, the Cuomo administration since spring has approved more than $46 million in new pork-barrel capital grants. From April through July, Cuomo’s Division of the Budget directed the state Dormitory Authority to disburse 226 grants to recipients selected by the governor and individual state lawmakers The …

A bill to tax stock trades

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Albany: Rank-and-file legislators are preparing a bill to raise billions of dollars through a small tax on stock trades to avoid potential deep cuts in education and health care and higher taxes forced by the state’s lost revenue from the COVID-19 emergency. “we are in a desperate financial situation,” said Joseph Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University who won …

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice deceiving!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)

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Scott’s epic poem Marmion well describes the marathon of political ineptness and folly experienced by Nassau County residents over many years. To quote E.J. McMahon, a fiscal policy contributor at the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy: “Budget deficits are papered over with borrowed money, as were unaffordable union contracts, pension contributions amortized into the future, retiree health benefits promised but …

The Myth of a New York State Balanced Budget

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A/C the Division of the Budget, state law requires the Governor to submit, and the Legislature to enact, a General Fund budget that is balanced on a cash basis of accounting. The State Constitution and State Finance Law does not provide a precise definition of a balanced budget, in practice it is considered balanced, if sufficient funds are available, or …

Nassau County ’s solvency questioned!

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Last October, the Nassau County legislature approved County Executive Laura Curran’s $3.56 billion operating expense budget, 50% of which covers personnel costs, 12% debt servicing. Not included is a substantial portion of some $2.1 billion in severance allowances accumulated by Long Island public employees for unused vacations, sick, and other paid days.  Public debt clocks in at $3.5 billion, with …

In New York City, thirty years ago, crime was out of control. Then came ‘broken windows’ policing. Are politicians forgetting their lessons?

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Introduction: Cyrus “Cy” Vance Jr. (the subject of this column) has served as the district attorney of New York County, since January of 2010.  His father, Cyrus Vance Sr. served as both Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State under two prior Presidents. He graduated from Yale University and then earned his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law School.  The …

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Weighs Cuts to NYPD Budget Transferring Millions to Youth Services

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Two days after this announcement was made, the WSJ detailed year-to-date crime statistics for four major cities, including New York. Startling numbers when explained by those closest to the scene. What follows is for New York City only.     “One feature of our current politics is how quickly bad events trigger a rush to bad policies.” In New York …

Calamity Planning – New York lawmakers are considering (4) changes state law.

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The State of poitics Blog: Spectrum News.JUNE. 01, 2020 BY NICK REISMAN George Floyd’s death after he was trapped under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has sparked protests and unrest in more than 100 American cities, including New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.  It may also spark further action by a state Legislature in Albany that is led …

Public Pension-Fund Losses Surpass Worst From ’08 Crisis: WSJ Condensed

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Public pension plans lost a median 13.2% in the three months ended March 31 the biggest one-quarter drop in the 40 years the firm has been tracking, driving up already-burdensome retirement costs for governments. “There will be a lot of pressure to cut benefits,” said Don Boyd, co-director of the State and Local Government Finance Project at the University at …