As Albany begins its post-budget agenda, it is remarkable how little the governor and state lawmakers discuss environmental issues. There are the occasional news releases – lip service really – about green initiatives, but little about policies that seek to reduce the pollution.
The US Census published a report on voting in America last week that was the usual – the nation’s voters don’t go to the polls as often as they should and in some parts of the country, like New York, and for some age groups – mainly young voters – the turnout has been dreadful.
A recent report by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) took a close look at how companies weigh some of the non-driving related factors when they provide price quotes to consumers. What NYPIRG found was startling. All else being equal, for three of the top five insurers in New York, a low wage worker with a high school degree could pay anywhere from 19%-41% more than a college educated professional for the exact same coverage.
Once again, New Yorkers have had to hope that federal prosecutors can clean up Albany. When Governor Cuomo unceremoniously pulled the plug on the Moreland Act Commission Investigating Public Corruption as part of a deal with legislative leaders in exchange for weak ethics reforms, even the most optimistic New Yorkers were left depressed.
The nation hit a milestone last week: the deadline for signing up for coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act. Despite an unbelievable torrent of mistakes, criticisms, deceptive ads, and outright lies (remember the claims of so-called “death panels”?), enrollment in newly-created health marketplaces hit an estimated 7 million enrollees – the goal set by the Administration last June.
Once the state's political leaders got past the congratulatory "atta-boys" and backslapping on their most recent effort to reform Albany, the public was left to dig through the details of the legislative agreement.
Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers are coming down the homestretch in the budget negotiations for the fiscal year starting April 1st. The budget negotiations have, so far, been typical in some ways and highly contentious in others.
This week, the nation focuses on America’s commitment to government openness during “Sunshine Week.” “Sunshine Week” makes it clear that it is important to maintain an open government, in order to ensure the proper relationship between public officials and the citizens they are pledged to serve.
There is a lot in New York State’s budget that is important. Children need schooling, the poor and the sick need to be taken care of, the roads and bridges need repair, the public needs to be protected, and the courts need to administer justice.