Controlling the Cost of New York City’s Settlements and Judgments: A Tale of Two Agencies

Aug 12, 2014
Last week, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a report introducing an important new tool: ClaimStat. The innovation is a data-based method for analyzing judgments and claims against the City of New York in order to identify ways to reduce their cost.

LIRR Pension Fraud Could Happen Again

Aug 05, 2014
Last week, as the MTA board approved a budget that funded a generous contract for LIRR workers, the GAO released a report indicating the federal agency administering disability pensions for those workers had not done enough to prevent a repeat of a widespread fraud scheme by LIRR employees uncovered in 2008.

An Update on Port Authority Budget Reform

Jul 23, 2014
Just over one year ago, on July 16, 2013, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) sent the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) a letter with recommendations for improving the Authority’s budget process, with the goals of greater transparency, long-term financial viability, and public accountability for performance.

Where Do We Go From Here? Steering New York City’s Finances in Fiscal Year 2015

Jul 01, 2014
Today is the first day of fiscal year 2015. New York City’s $75 billion budget is the first to be crafted by Mayor Bill de Blasio and adopted by the City Council under Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s leadership.  This blog post examines what’s new in the fiscal year 2015 budget and makes recommendations for steering the City’s finances over the next four years.

Five Benefit Sweeteners Pass in State Legislature

Jun 20, 2014
Five bills on CBC’s Benefit Sweetener Scorecard have passed both houses of the State Legislature. These bills are highlighted in red on the Scorecard.

Three Questions about 1,000 New Police Officers

Jun 19, 2014
As the New York City budget for fiscal year 2015 nears adoption, the City Council is negotiating with the Mayor to secure funding for its priorities, such as universal school lunches, legal services for evictees, and increased support for public libraries. One of the more expensive Council initiatives, at an estimated cost of almost $100 million annually, is the hiring of 1,000 new police officers to increase staffing at police precincts.

Benefit Sweeteners on the Move in State Legislature

Jun 16, 2014
Last week five bills on CBC’s Benefit Sweetener Scorecard passed one house of the State Legislature. The most expensive bill (A7862/S5644) was passed in the Senate and would increase pension benefits for SUNY police officers to half-pay after 25 years.

An Expensive Pension Enhancement Bill is on the Move

Jun 09, 2014
A bill moving swiftly through the Legislature would reverse recent pension reforms and greatly increase New York City’s pension fund contribution costs. The bill, A9594/S7326, would increase disability pension benefits for police officers hired after July 1, 2009, when a more financially sustainable “Tier III” plan went into effect.

New York Led the Nation in Education Spending in 2012

Jun 02, 2014
New U.S. Census data show New York maintained its position as the top per-pupil spender among states on public elementary-secondary education in 2012. New York spent $19,552 per student, compared to $10,608 on average nationally, and $16,274 and $17,266 on average in the neighboring states of Connecticut and New Jersey, respectively.

The Challenge of Staying Under the 2 Percent State Spending Cap

May 20, 2014
New York State’s leaders deserve credit for keeping state-financed budget growth below a self-imposed 2 percent spending cap since fiscal year 2011, a sharp departure from historical norms. The discipline has markedly improved the State’s fiscal condition and spurred key reforms in Medicaid and State operations.
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