With a budget shortfall of $12.5 billion projected for 2009-10, New York's state government faces its most significant fiscal crisis in decades. However, this is not just another cyclical downturn. What's left of Wall Street will be significantly leaner, less profitable, and more heavily regulated than the securities industry whose explosive growth fueled the expansion of state spending for much of the past 25 years. The Empire Center and the Center for Governmental Research explored these issues at a policy forum in Albany. Read More
While strikes and other job actions have become rare events, municipal and school officials say the Taylor Law--in combination with other public labor statutes--now unduly favors unions at taxpayer expense. The Empire Center explored whether Taylor Law reforms are needed at a policy forum. Read More
A panel of state and national education experts gathered at the state Capitol in Albany to examine and debate Gov. Spitzer's historic education reform plan, which aims to hold New York schools more accountable than ever before. Read More
Some of the nation's top health policy experts gathered to share ideas on how to curb health care expenses, improve health care services and expand access to health insurance in New York State. Featured topics included innovative Medicaid reforms in Florida and Kentucky, the Massachusetts health insurance reform plan, the pitfalls of a Canada-style universal health plan, and the potential benefits of expanding consumer health care choices. Read More
Debate on New York Ballot Proposal One, which would amend the state Constitution to eliminate the existing requirement for state legislators to act on the governor's annual budget Executive Budget before initiating their own appropriation bills. It would provide for an automatic contingency budget, subject to legislative amendment, whenever a new budget is not enacted before the start of a fiscal year. Read More
Ahead of a statewide referendum in November 2005, voters throughout New York State voted down a proposed constitutional amendment that would have reduce the budget-making powers of the governor’s office while strengthening the hand of Albany’s legislative leaders. The implications of such a change were explored by distinguished speakers starting with former Governor Hugh L. Carey, one of the most successful and effective chief executives in New York State’s history. Read More
In order to improve New York City's schools, Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse is ordering New York State to massively increase funding for the school system: $5.6 billion annually, plus another $9.2 billion for capital expenditures. But is Justice DeGrasse's remedy really the last word in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case? Our panelists discussed why the Legislature is constitutionally free to consider other approaches. Read More
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