Hopes for a Taxpayer Friendly 2018

From all of us at the Center for Cost Effective Governance, here are our wishes for the upcoming year.

Con Con is Dead, But We Still Need These New York State Reforms

Here are some of the most needed reforms to the legislative process that can help New York have a less dysfunctional state government.

When A Tax Cap Is Not Really A Tax Cap

When is a tax cap not a tax cap. The answer is when, as with our New York State cap, bonded interest is exempt from the parameters of the cap.

If You Want to End Gerrymandering, Look to the Supreme Court and the Judiciary

The partisan drawing of legislative districts, otherwise known as “gerrymandering,” must be stopped if we ever wish to reverse the awful political gridlock that has engulfed our nation. A recent court decision may help put us on that path.

It’s Time to End Step Increases for Long Island Political Appointees

Steps are additional salary increases that public employees receive every year in addition to their negotiated salaries. Union employees have had these steps built into their negotiated contracts. Traditionally, non-union political appointees never received these double raises. That changed a few years ago…

It’s Called Tax Creep

Tax creep – the little here, little there tax increases that cumulatively can put homeowners over the edge. It’s how we’ve reached the point of near no return in New York when it comes to our confiscatory property taxes.

Rising Utility Rates Show System Rigged Against Ratepayers

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders coasted upon a big wave based on the theory that many of our institutions are rigged. But what could be more rigged than the rate-setting schemes for our utilities?

Why Do Taxpayers Subsidize Unions to Lobby Against Taxpayers?

We as a nation are in so many ways better off for having unions to advocate on behalf of workers’ rights. But do taxpayers have an obligation to pay union leaders so they can be freed up from their regular jobs in order to lobby on behalf of the union?

To Avoid Voter Hacking, Bring Back the Levers

[W]e warned that going electric would place our entire sacred democratic process in the vulnerable position of possibly being hacked by operatives with nefarious intent. We in Suffolk even brought legal action to stop this insanity. We lost.

Let Suffolk Deputies Do Police Work

Getting efficiencies out of the department is very difficult. Nevertheless, my administration was able to make substantial progress — though much of it has been reversed — by having civilians fill positions when possible, by scheduling more efficiently and by placing less expensive sheriff’s deputies on the highways.

Underfunded Pension Systems Are Starting to Collapse

It is the ultimate wake-up call for present and future pensioners in America: Three New York-based private sector defined-benefit pension programs cut payments to their retirees because they are running out of money.

A Tale of Two Nuke Bailouts

Especially galling to Long Islanders is that while they will pay significantly to subsidize the upstate plants, they were required to fully bailout their own Shoreham plant with no assistance from any other taxpayer or ratepayer in other parts of the state.

New York’s Ten Worst Laws for Taxpayers

Part of the reason New York has become one of the most unaffordable states in which to live or do business is a series of laws that have been enacted in decades past that are unique to the Empire State.

Stingy PBA Arbitrators Give Store Away Elsewhere

Give underpaid New York City cops a decent bump, while holding the line on the Long Island salaries that are already in the stratosphere. Remove the Long Island provision that allows officers to cash out unused sick days and adopt the New York City rule that gives unlimited sick, where justified, without any cash outs.

Phony Answers on Property Taxes

While New York has made window-dressing attempts at pension reform, such as the new Tier 6 (which simply pushes out a retirement date from 62 to 63 years of age for new employees), state leaders made no effort to, for example, stop allowing overtime for current employees to be incorporated into a final pension benchmark.

The Public Sector: Where Management Negotiates Against Itself

Elected officials – who were supposed to be managers for the taxpayers’ money – are actually sitting at the negotiation table acting as advocates for the unions – who are supposed to be their adversaries.

Albany Must Eliminate Overtime From Pensions

Most folks I know were outraged to hear last month that a police official from a sleepy village in Nassau County was able to retire with a $1 million severance package. Unfortunately, few in Albany seem to care.

Is America Heading Toward Path of Greece?

The America that was once the most productive, innovative, and upwardly mobile nation on earth is morphing into a dependency state just like Greece.

Center for Cost Effective Government Urges Extending Property Tax Cap Permanently

The Center for Cost Effective Government today urged New York State lawmakers to make the 2% property tax cap permanent.

Taxpayer Advocates Promote Two School reforms

Leaders from the Center for Cost Effective Government (Center), Long Islanders for Education Reform, and Suffolk Tax Pac have been promoting reforms to the BOCES purchasing process, as well as the manner in which the public votes are cast on school bonds.

Bill Would Eliminate Overtime in Pension Calculations

The bill, which was drafted at the request of the Center for Cost Effective Government, seeks to amend the state Constitution to shield taxpayers from having to pay for public sector pensions inflated by overtime and severance pay, and limit the pension to be calculated on the employee’s base pay.

Levy: Tax rebates hinge on consolidation

Taxing entities wishing to effectuate economies of scale can join together in a joint purchasing program. Instead of a village going out to bid for 50 desks unilaterally, it can bid with 10 other jurisdictions where 500 desks will be purchased.

Victories a Warning to Weak Leaders

The victories of tough leaders like Scott Walker and Michael Fitzpatrick show that voters reward people who fight hard for them and make touch choices.

Kremer Cited LI’s Transportation Problem; Here is the Solution

We need our state and federal legislative delegations to actively fight for Long Island to get its fair share of transportation aid. We have not been able to do so being in the shadows of New York City. The best bet for us to get this essential funding is to have our own Metropolitan Planning Organization.

BOCES Reform Long Overdue

Taxpayer dollars are being wasted through an archaic state reimbursement system utilized for school district purchases through the BOCES purchasing consortium.  We at the Center for Cost Effective Government, with the help of State Senator Phil Boyle, are aiming to do better.

The Lesson From Patchogue: Just Say “Yes”

Patchogue’s downtown was emblematic of the blight that was evident in so many of our
Long Island communities.  But the town is now the quintessential example of what can happen when a community simply says yes to the right redevelopment.

Suffolk’s Being Robbed

Both Nassau and Suffolk have elaborate bus and sewer systems. Nassau stands to tap millions in state aid for improvements to their systems, while Suffolk likely will not.

Is Pre-K worth the investment?

The President, Governor and Mayor have been tripping over themselves to prove they are more pro-child than the other by pushing for universal Pre-K. But did anyone examine if Pre-K even works? The evidence is inconclusive.

Now is the Time to Get LIRR Concessions

Everyone wants to avoid a strike at the Long Island Rail Road.

If not the $200k cop, what will spur change?

What will it take for officials to finally do something to curb law enforcement salaries on Long Island, now hovering around $200,000?

LIBN Editorial: Long Island Business Leaders Must Come Together

The verbal spit-balling between former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council draws attention to how Long Island’s ongoing inability to flex its collective muscle once again results in insufficient funding.

Pension Debate on WLIW 10/30/13

Center Director Steve Levy in a debate about the need for pension reform.

Center’s Testimony Before Senate Local Government Committee

Will other Governments go the way of Detroit? Steve Levy explains how Detroit’s collapse can be avoided elsewhere.

The Center For Cost Effective Government Hosts A Conference

Video: Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy fights for the taxpayers at The Center for Cost Effective Government.

Mandatory Arbitration (UPDATE)

Sometimes, something is worse than nothing. Such is the case with the remarkably tepid changes that have been made by the State to the woefully expensive mandatory arbitration process. Published in the Albany Times Union

Mandatory Arbitration

Governor Cuomo says he will use his leverage to hold up this usually pro-forma extension unless the arbitration process is reformed. Kudos to the governor for at least addressing the problem. The question is whether he will take it to the mat and deliver real reform or just create a window dressing press release.

Center to welcome E.J. McMann on 2/27

The Center For Cost Effective Government is pleased to announce that E.J. McMahon, Newsday contributor and Manhattan Institute scholar, has accepted an invitation to be the Center’s great speaker at its February 27th meeting.

Response to Newsday’s pension editorial, February 25 2013

The Center for Cost Effective Government believes the State Legislature must do more to control crippling mandates.

Mixed Bag for Mandate Relief, Long Island Business News

Progress has been made on mandate reform, but more still needs to be done.

Let’s Get a Real New York State Oversight Panel

If we want to help financially stressed localities and their taxpayers survive, let’s create the control boards that we need and give local administrators the tools they need to straighten out the mess that resulted from the nationwide recession.


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