The Ulster County Budget: What Will Happen When the Other Shoe Drops?

Earlier this month Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan proposed a $333.8 million budget for 2021 that requires neither a property tax levy increase nor employee layoffs, and with a smaller withdrawal from the county’s savings account (the fund balance) than was made in 2020. At first glance, this seems like an extraordinary achievement during a time that the New York State economy has been devastated Read more…

The population of the Hudson Valley is not going to go up, and if it does, it will not be because of people moving up from NYC.

I know that I promised an article about how the City of Poughkeepsie was going to experience the most transformative change from the current wave of migration from New York City, and that article is coming, but first I wanted to address the notion that this trend is going to drive up the population of the region. The considerable uptick in affluent households moving to Read more…

Academic “Neutrality” and the Future of Our Democracy: One Political Scientist’s Two Cents

I really did not want to open the semi-annual survey invitation from Bright Line Watch when I found it in my inbox this past August. This was the eleventh time since 2017 that this team of political scientists surveyed colleagues about the state of the U.S. government, to “monitor democratic practices… their resilience, and potential threats.” Questions focus on the systemic consequences of specific presidential Read more…

Who Gets Cheated by an Abrupt End to the Census

It is—and isn’t—who you’d think Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution requires a decennial census. It is the basis for  reapportionment, the drawing of legislative district lines for all levels of government from the federal House of Representatives all the way down to local city councils and some towns and villages. The census has also come to be used for an array of other Read more…

Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was Right to Speak Out in 2016

This opinion essay was originally published in the Times-Herald Record during the 2016 presidential campaign. Gerald Benjamin is no longer an enrolled Republican. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been widely and wrongly condemned for her critical remarks about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president. “Partisan.” “Inappropriate for a sitting justice of the Supreme Court.” “Potentially destructive of the court’s legitimacy at a Read more…

It’s Going to be Huge… Estimating the Scale of the Current Wave of Migration from NYC to the Hudson Valley

In the introduction post to this series, I noted the recent uptick in the number of people moving to the Hudson Valley from New York City and the rising home prices driven by this trend. This next post is going to look a little more closely at the possible scale of this migration, and make some predictions about where the hotspots are likely to be. Read more…

Opinion: A Redistricting Power Grab

This post originally ran on the Gotham Gazette The New York State Senate and Assembly, both now in Democratic hands, last month gave first passage to several changes to an earlier constitutional amendment, adopted in 2014, creating a so-called Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw district lines every ten years for those two houses and the state’s Congressional districts. If passed by the Legislature again next Read more…

Schools Need Resources — And Time — to Get this Right

By Robin Jacobowitz and KT Tobin On August 7th Governor Cuomo announced that our COVID numbers in New York State were sufficiently low to allow us to send our K-12 children, our teachers, and school staff back into school buildings. There’s a good reason for wanting to do this. The closure of our schools left us hurting in so many ways: hungry children; struggles to Read more…

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