From all of us at the Center for Cost Effective Governance, here are our wishes for the upcoming year.
Here are some of the most needed reforms to the legislative process that can help New York have a less dysfunctional state government.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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?
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?
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The America that was once the most productive, innovative, and upwardly mobile nation on earth is morphing into a dependency state just like Greece.
The Center for Cost Effective Government today urged New York State lawmakers to make the 2% property tax cap permanent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone wants to avoid a strike at the Long Island Rail Road.
What will it take for officials to finally do something to curb law enforcement salaries on Long Island, now hovering around $200,000?
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.
Center Director Steve Levy in a debate about the need for pension reform.
Will other Governments go the way of Detroit? Steve Levy explains how Detroit’s collapse can be avoided elsewhere.
Video: Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy fights for the taxpayers at The Center for Cost Effective Government.
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
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.
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.
The Center for Cost Effective Government believes the State Legislature must do more to control crippling mandates.
Progress has been made on mandate reform, but more still needs to be done.
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.