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Cuomo's restructuring board a start, but not enough

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After a couple of years of listening to distressed local governments complain about declining state aid and runaway costs from state mandates, and basically telling them to stop whining, Gov. Andrew Cuomo now has recognized they do have a chronic fiscal imbalance that needs to be corrected if they are to avoid insolvency. The state Financial Restructuring Board he announced two weeks ago appears to be a serious, thoughtful proposal that could help. But it ...

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May 27, 2013
10:06 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Some very good points in this editorial; however, one potential problem I see is the composition of the Restructuring Board. Four of the five positions are impacted by the political process and there is no guarantee that in some similar fashion the private sector individual involved would be completely independent form politics. For example, how would the individual be selected? And, with only one voice on the Board - how much influence would they have?

The Boards carry the carrot (and stick) of state financial aid. That does not disentangle the process form politics - it only camouflages it.

And, I am not a fan of the artificial safeguard - the 2% tax cap. That is only slightly less than the range in which arbitration awards start - 2.5 -3% (although this is my non-empirical assessment). I think a more thoughtful and independent Board would be better able to accurately, fairly, and objectively assess the arbitration decisions. And, if done right - the municipalities will be financially protected and the workers may actually wind up with benefits which may be better for them in the long run.

Agree with the notion the process needs drastic changes - but, the restructuring board as presented by the Governor and endorsed by the editorial is certainly not the best resolution of this problem.