Testimony

Let me begin by reminding everyone that the 2009-10 state budget included tax and fee increases that were initially valued at $6.1 billion, or 7.4 percent of total state fund revenues. This was the largest tax and fee increase in New York State’s history. Read More

New York’s 80-year-old Executive Budget law, rooted in Article VII of the state Constitution, has stood the test of time in many respects. But some glaring holes in the law have become more and more evident over the past couple of decades. As a result, the severity of New York State’s latest fiscal crisis has been compounded by a lack of budgetary discipline, transparency and accountability. Read More

As a former journalist and now as analyst for the Empire Center for Public Policy, I am pleased the Senate is considering a package of bills to expand the Freedom of Information Law and the Open Meeting Law. Read More

Before the Senate Temporary Committee on Rules Reform Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts about government transparency and accountability. For years, the long-standing joke in Albany was if you want to know what’s Read More

Economic conditions have obvious implications for the work of this Committee and for the Legislature in general. We are in the midst of a potentially severe and long-lasting global recession. But for New York State, the recession is only part of the problem. Fueled by the super-heated profits of the securities industry, mixed with gains from a now-popped real estate bubble, the surge in state tax revenues over the past five years was as big as anything New York has experienced during any previous five-year stretch in the last 35 years. Read More

In my testimony today, I will not attempt to delve into the many issues surrounding the administration of the real property tax in New York. As this committee's other witnesses will attest, New York's current patchwork approach is both unfair and inefficient. The reliance on numerous local assessment districts, and the lack of a single assessment standard linked to a regular reassessment cycle, are glaring shortcomings of the system as it now exists. Read More

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