Archive for December, 2010

Understanding state deficit projections

December 28th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

In its mid-year report on the current state financial plan, the Governor’s Division of the Budget projected New York State faces a $9 billion deficit for 2011-12, followed by gaps of $14.6 billion, and $17.2 billion in the ensuing years.

Other parties are more pessimistic in their assumptions about the revenues the state will take in.

Also, failure to close a gap in the current year spending plan (estimated at between $315 million and $1 billion), would increase the deficit to be closed in the 2011-12 budget.

Update ( January 6, 2011):  During his State of the State Address yesterday, Governor Cuomo referred to the projected deficit as being $10 billion.

Numbers of this size are hard to grasp.  What do they mean for schools and other state services?

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Finance, State Budget | Comments Off on Understanding state deficit projections

NY Times opposes tax cap; Buffalo News endorses four-point plan

December 22nd, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Today the New York Times came out in opposition to proposals to enact a cap on local property tax increases.

In an editorial titled, “The Tax Cap Illusion,” the Times argues that a cap “sounds a lot more helpful than it is,” and calls it, “…a blunt instrument that ends up punishing many of the taxpayers and communities in need of relief.”

It urges instead for Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo and the incoming Legislature to focus on restraining personnel costs, streamlining mandates, consolidating districts, and targeting state aid.

The editorial concludes, “Mr. Cuomo should address these issues first. Instead, he is focused on a tax cap. Perhaps he will change his mind when the firehouses, the police cars and — mostly — the schools start to deteriorate.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, the Buffalo News endorsed the Statewide School Finance Consortium’s four-point plan:

* Freezing wages for all public school employees when state aid is frozen or reduced.

* Capping the amount a district can spend on health insurance, and requiring employees to pay a larger share of health care costs.

* Significant pension reform, including making employees contribute more toward their pensions.

* Reducing the costs of special education by bringing New York’s regulations in line with federal guidelines.

The News acknowledges there would be immediate legal challenges to a legislated pay freeze.

Category: Finance, State Budget | Comments Off on NY Times opposes tax cap; Buffalo News endorses four-point plan

Responding to criticism of superintendents

December 22nd, 2010 by Robert Lowry

A few weeks back, the Buffalo News ran an editorial harshly critical of school superintendents and their compensation.

Yesterday, The News ran a response by our Executive Director, Bob Reidy.  You can read it here. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Leadership | Comments Off on Responding to criticism of superintendents

Tax Cap Debate Heating Up

December 16th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

It’s been a busy news week on the property tax cap issue…. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Finance | 1 Comment »

Education Jobs Fund finally resolved by Legislature, other budget matters left hanging

December 12th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

This past week, the State Senate passed legislation necessary to enable the State Education Department to begin sending checks to school districts for the Education Jobs Fund approved by Congress and President Obama in August.

The bill passed the Assembly two weeks ago.  It was proposed by the Governor, so his approval is certain.

Nearly six months into the state fiscal year, other portions of the 2010-11 state budget remain unresolved, however.

Also, during their return to Albany, the Legislature did not act on Governor Paterson’s call for mid-year cuts to close an estimated deficit in the state’s 2010-11 budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Education Jobs Fund finally resolved by Legislature, other budget matters left hanging