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New York Localities In Distress How Should The State Respond?

Tuesday April 2012


Hon. Richard Ravitch Former Lieutenant Governor, State of New York
Hon. Stephanie A. Miner Mayor, City of Syracuse, NY
E.J. McMahon Senior Fellow, Empire Center for New York State Policy

In the wake of the Great Recession, New York State’s counties, municipalities, and school districts face intense budgetary pressure. To put their spending and revenues on a sustainably balanced footing, local governments need to fundamentally restructure their financial commitments—but state mandates can hinder their maneuvering room. In the three decades since the New York City fiscal crisis of the 1970s, the budgets of several other cities and counties have been subjected to the control of state oversight bodies, and more may be headed into “crisis” mode in the near future. Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner is among the prominent local officials sounding the alarm on this issue. Former lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch, who played a key role in the fiscal rescue of New York City in the 1970s, is now advising local leaders coping with severe fiscal challenges. E.J. McMahon, senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center, has published a series of reports and articles on needed state mandate relief priorities, including repeal of the Triborough Amendment requiring public employers to maintain all contractual perks for unionized public employees after the expiration of collective bargaining agreements.