Economic development in New York State — a tale of two cities

Among all the public issues discussed and debated on the federal, state and local levels of government, there is major consensus about the importance of economic matters – creating jobs, stimulating the economy. Once you get past those clichés, however, there is no major consensus about what to do about such things or how to measure the benefits of public development projects. Continue reading

Journalism in the 21st century; a footnote about changes coming at the County Legislature

You are looking at the future of journalism. Okay, I’m exaggerating – a lot. This humble blog is just a humble blog.

But take a few minutes to consider how you, personally, gather information you need or want about the region, the country and the world. More and more, we all have created or are creating our own individual versions of “the news.” Continue reading

The City of Buffalo’s fiscal crisis

It is the holiday season. There are decorations everywhere, likely even in Buffalo City Hall. Lots of red and green.

But I’m thinking here more about something familiar to many Western New Yorkers when they think about a crisis in municipal finance. The red and green I’m referring to is the Erie County government financial crisis brought on in 2004 when former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra presented two versions of a 2005 county budget. One would have cut spending in a draconian way – the red budget. The second was the green version, which would have balanced the budget by raising the sales tax by one percent – referred to as the “Medicaid penny.” Continue reading

Election law reforms coming?

Things are going to be different in Albany when the new legislative session convenes in January. The large Democratic majority in the State Senate will join the overwhelmingly Democratic Assembly and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo for the very rare occurrence in New York State – one party rule.

There have Republican governors from time-to-time (Dewey, Rockefeller, Wilson, Pataki). The Democrats won control of the Assembly in 1974 and the size of their majority has grown much bigger over the years. Continue reading