Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned last week that if New York City fails to control unsustainable employee compensation costs, it could find itself trapped in the same "downward cycle" as bankrupt Detroit... Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
When Nassau Democratic lawmakers agreed with Republicans last month to borrow $40 million to pay long-overdue tax refunds, both sides declared a victory for bipartisanship. Though it drew little public attention, the county legislature's unanimous vote also included borrowing another $6 million for undefined capital projects and approval of specific improvements in Democratic districts. Read More
In his budget message last month, Gov. Pataki called for constitutional reforms to control New York state's debt and ban non-voter-approved "back-door borrowing." But at the same time he quietly proposed a new form of back-door debt -- potentially the most significant change in the state's borrowing practices in decades. Read More
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