The controversial nonprofit organization ACORN has been closed for almost five years, but that didn't stop the state Legislature from steering more than $24,000 its way in this year's budget.
Four years of on-time budgets is an accomplishment Governor Andrew Cuomo loves to mention, but this year could be different.
Cuomo is pushing lawmakers to adopt stringent ethics legislation as part of the budget agreement. If they don't reach a deal by the April 1 deadline, a government shutdown is possible.
Say this for Sheldon Silver, who steps down today after more than two decades as state Assembly speaker: He’s doing New York taxpayers an unexpected favor.
Not only will Silver be saving taxpayers nearly $10,000 a year by not giving up his Assembly seat, he’s driving home a much-needed lesson about the urgent need for public-pension reform.
As expected, the current scandal in Albany around state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has fanned the flames for more reform in the Legislature.
“Term limits would strike at a problem more pervasive than corruption (at the Capitol): legislative careerism,” says Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center for Public Policy.
Governor Andrew Cuomo eliminated funding of new "member item" spending when he took office four years ago—but the Ghost of Pork Barrels Past continues to haunt the state's finances.
Each of Cuomo's first four Executive Budget proposals projected the depletion and elimination of what's technically known as the "Community Projects Fund - 007" -- but every year, the enacted budget has restored the money to back up reappropriations of the member item lump sum.
Sheldon Silver's 38 years in the Assembly allowed him to amass immense political power which he is accused of abusing to pocket millions of dollars in kickbacks. And it's that 38 years in a public office that will give him a pension worth more than the annual salary of a rank-and-file assembly member.
The corruption case against Speaker Sheldon Silver has prompted more calls for reform of the Legislature.
Skyrocketing public-pension obligations have generated concern across the country, especially in the wake of high-profile bankruptcies of Detroit and Stockton, Calif. In New York, an even larger burden looms in the form of lifetime health-insurance coverage promised to state and local government employees.
Yet at least one house of the Legislature is considering a bill that would effectively prevent any effort to reduce this unaffordable debt.