"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Red Ink

The state government is facing more red ink than originally anticipated, which will make it the second, third or perhaps fourth time the state officials have underestimated the deficit. The budget is just like a good Timex it keeps on ticking, like a bomb.

For the gift the keeps on giving, the oringinal amount the Governor wanted to cut was $600 million and only reached $400 million, then it was predicted the deficit would reach $1 billion, then $1.2 billion and ta da, now it is $2 billion according to the Governor.

This comment by the Governor signals the major portions of the budget, school aid and health care cost, need to be cut. “Obviously, we are going to have to look at our greatest spending areas and try to reduce them,” Paterson said according to the Bloomberg wire service. 

All of this because our state government lives too close to the edge, spends too much and has no ability to embrace a economic downturn. We need people in Albany who understand budgets and finances. 


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not gonna happen. They have been living like this for too long. They won't cut anything. More taxes and fees on the way. More kids down the road. And to think, it's all for the children.

Anonymous said...

One last point. Today's news has the Gov estimating the state shortfall at $12.5 billion. So I guess your numbers need to be adjusted a bit. Won't matter, the cuts still won't happen. Party time for special interests will continue.

Anonymous said...

Here is what the AG is doing to save money.

The Attorney General’s Government Accountability and Fraud Stop Act includes the following:
–Expands the Attorney General’s authority by establishing an additional new mechanism to recoup funds and impose penalties on attorneys who are not employees of school districts or BOCES, but who improperly receive compensation or benefits.
–Attorney General can bring action to recover treble damages (penalties of up to three times the person’s salary or other benefits fraudulently obtained).
–Enhances the penalty for pension fraud from a misdemeanor to a felony and creates a new criminal penalty for lawyers who improperly receive compensation or benefits.
–Prohibits lawyers from simultaneously being an employee and an independent contractor for a school district or BOCES for the purpose of providing legal service to the same school or BOCES.
–Closes “double dipping” loopholes statewide by tightening the 211 waiver process for hiring retirees and prohibits retirees from returning to the same or a similar position for one year following retirement.
–Waivers will be only granted when there is an urgent need for the retiree’s services in a particular position because of an unplanned, unpredictable and unexpected vacancy where sufficient time is not available to recruit a qualified individual, and such hiring shall be deemed as non-permanent, or,
–If the employer has undertaken extensive recruitment efforts to fill a vacancy and has determined that there are no available qualified non-retired candidates, and the employer must prepare a detailed recruitment plan to fill the vacancy on a permanent basis.
–Requires schools to publicly list all compensation, including salary and benefits, for all administrators. The list will be posted on the school’s web site and at public libraries within the school district.
–Adds new levels of transparency for schools and BOCES which must now submit an annual list reporting the position and compensation of all employees granted 211 waivers, and a list of all lawyers providing services and whether they are employees or independent contractors.

Political IV said...

For clarification

$2 billion is this current year's deficit, next year's deficit will be the $12.50 billion.

Anonymous said...

More than $1.5 Million Returned to Taxpayers Due to Cuomo’s Pension Fraud Investigation

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 16, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a settlement agreement with a Capital Region lawyer who was improperly listed as an employee at Troy Central Schools and received approximately $250,000 in public pension payments he was not entitled to.

Under the settlement, lawyer E. Michael Ruberti, a former partner at the Albany law firm now known as Girvin & Ferlazzo, P.C., will pay the state and the state Common Retirement Fund a total $270,000. With this settlement, more than $1.5 million is being returned to taxpayers due to Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing pension fraud investigation.

From 1991 to 1995, Ruberti was listed as an employee of the Troy Central Schools and accrued public pension benefits in connection with that purported employment. However, for that entire period, he provided services to the Troy Central Schools as an independent contractor, i.e., as outside retained counsel, and was not entitled to accrue state pension credits for that work.

“Abuses of the state public pension system have cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and there is no excuse,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This is more evidence of the pervasive fraud fueled by greed. My office will continue to root out those who cheat the public pension system and fight to restore trust and integrity in public service.”

Between 1978 and 1995, Ruberti was also listed as a “Labor Relations Specialist” at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services (HFM BOCES), where he accrued additional pension credits. During a significant portion of that 18-year period, Ruberti was also employed full-time by two independent law firms, including the Girvin firm. Although other lawyers at the Girvin firm were improperly listed as HFM BOCES employees for the purpose of collecting state pension benefits to which they were not entitled, Ruberti maintained sufficient indicia of employment at HFM BOCES to have been properly classified as an employee.

Since his retirement, Ruberti has received a total of more than $657,500 in pension payments, of which approximately $250,000 was excess due to his improper classification with Troy Central Schools.

Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing statewide investigation of pension abuse includes more than 4,000 local governments and special districts across New York State, all school districts and the 37 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (“BOCES”). The investigation has already revealed that many lawyers had improperly remained on public payrolls for such extended periods of time, or were included on the payrolls of so many public sector employers simultaneously, that they accumulated substantial credits in the New York State pension system.

Attorney General Cuomo’s investigation also led to legislation – signed into law last week – that increases government accountability at all levels, curbs fraud and abuse in the state retirement system with tough new penalties, closes “double dipping” loopholes for retirees and increases transparency and accountability in school spending plans.

To date, Attorney General Cuomo’s investigation into fraud and abuse in the public pension systems has returned more than $1.5 million to taxpayers through actions involving the conduct of more than 65 attorneys. Of that, $1.125 million was from the Girvin firm and lawyers presently or formerly connected to it.

In May, the Attorney General announced settlements with the Buffalo firm of Hodgson Russ LLP and Capital Region attorney Maureen Harris, a former partner with the Girvin firm and a commissioner with the state Public Service Commission. Those settlements ended improper employment arrangements with school districts and various BOCES and rescinded all public benefits the lawyers had wrongfully received. The Hodgson firm and Harris each paid $50,000 under the settlements

Three law firms and lawyers (the Central New York firm of Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett and Reitz P.C., the New York City firm of Aiello and Cannick and Long Island attorney Gilbert Henoch) settled allegations in June ending improper employment arrangements with school districts and a Central New York Board of Cooperative Educational Services (“BOCES”). The settlements also rescinded all public benefits wrongfully received and required the law firms and lawyers to pay the state a total $235,000.

More recently, the Attorney General reached settlement agreements with two law firms and their partners ending decades of abuse of the public pension system and calling for payments to the state totaling $600,000. Under those settlements, the Girvin firm paid the state $500,000 and the Binghamton law firm Hogan, Sarzynski, Lynch, Surowka & DeWind LLP paid $100,000.

Last week, former Girvin firm lawyers M. Cornelia Cahill and John R. Sise, agreed to pay a total $305,000 to settle allegations that they were improperly listed as employees at an upstate BOCES for which neither actually worked.

Dan Francis said...

Understanding budgets and finances?

LOL - not when "I'll bring and keep jobs here; I'll work to reduce legislation; I'll cut your taxes; I'll..... yada, yada, yada, yap, yap, etc. play so well.

Government never gets smaller; leaner; smarter; or less bothersome -

The curent Bottom Line, sadly is not the real bottom line: We cannot spend our way out of the mess we spent our way into.

Anonymous said...

First off, to PIV. I didn't mean to find fault with your numbers. I was just meaning to say that the problem grows by the minute. I don't believe the amounts we read about today are even close to the reality of what we will face in coming months.

As far as the AG and his efforts. GREAT JOB. This really isn't a donkey/elephant thing at this point, although some people deserve more credit (Gov) and blame (Shelly) than others. I wholeheartedly support what Cuomo has done, although this is just the tip of the iceberg. School districts have been wallowing in money for years now. It's not surprising they lead the way in "losing" money.

And what did Danny say, "WE CANNOT SPEND OUR WAY OUT OF THE MESS WE HAVE SPENT OUR WAY IN TO"....

Perfect. I agree Danny. But why is it both parties are now ready to do another "stimulus" package? Here we go again.

Anonymous said...

First off, to PIV. I didn't mean to find fault with your numbers. I was just meaning to say that the problem grows by the minute. I don't believe the amounts we read about today are even close to the reality of what we will face in coming months.

As far as the AG and his efforts. GREAT JOB. This really isn't a donkey/elephant thing at this point, although some people deserve more credit (Gov) and blame (Shelly) than others. I wholeheartedly support what Cuomo has done, although this is just the tip of the iceberg. School districts have been wallowing in money for years now. It's not surprising they lead the way in "losing" money.

And what did Danny say, "WE CANNOT SPEND OUR WAY OUT OF THE MESS WE HAVE SPENT OUR WAY IN TO"....

Perfect. I agree Danny. But why is it both parties are now ready to do another "stimulus" package? Here we go again.

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