In a half-century of public life, Richard Ravitch has been lieutenant governor of New York, head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a mayoral candidate, an adviser to many politicians and an instructor of many journalists in the wonkier aspects of governance. As a kind of fiscal first responder, he is one of those guys called in when an agency (or a bank, or, in one case, Major League Baseball) faces crisis. But lately he is best known as a prophet of gloom. When Ravitch, who is 80, is invited to lecture or debate or op-edify, his hosts expect tales of fiscal imprudence heading toward a grim comeuppance; they are not disappointed.
And he has a tendency to be right.
The task of jump starting New York's struggling economies is going to require a lot of work from lawmakers in Albany; but, is needed to help local governments keep up with rising costs. Last week, officials got a sobering reminder of what's at stake when Detroit declared bankruptcy, because several upstate cities face the same issues as the Motor City. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman tells us more.
There is no shortage of proposed solutions to the fiscal crises New York municipalities are grappling with.
But one of the simplest strategies—developing multiyear financial plans and posting them for all to see—has yet to catch on.
This forum focused on why long-term financial planning is essential for local governments and school districts, and how such plans can and should be implemented for counties, municipalities and school districts.
“Cash-strapped New York has tentatively chosen the highest bidder to produce driver’s licenses under a disputed contract that would provide only black-and-white photos and end up costing the state nearly $38 million more than the current contract if it’s approved,” the AP reports.
Residents of the metropolitan area pay some of the highest energy prices in the nation -- fully 50 percent above the national average for electricity and 21 percent above average for natural gas, according to the latest federal data.
Unfortunately, the situation is only likely to get worse in years ahead, thanks in part to New York State energy policy that seems grounded mainly in wishful thinking.
Located some 40 miles north of New York City, in Westchester County, the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) consists of two operating nuclear reactors, with a combined generating capacity of over 2,000 MW, and one long-retired reactor. IPEC’s size and location are the key factors in both the power it provides and the decades-long fight to shutter the plant permanently.
It was Mark Twain who supposedly said “no man’s property is safe when Congress is in session” — a concept that a surely extends to the New York State Legislature as well. In that spirit, here’s something to celebrate on the Fourth of July: the Legislature not only left Albany on schedule June 21, it passed fewer bills this year than in any regular session since 1914, according to an analysis by New York Public Interest Research Group.