Filling a Vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor: History and Hochul’s Opportunity

Kathy Hochul is the ninth New York lieutenant governor to become governor through the state constitutional process to fill a vacancy.* But she will be just the second to appoint a successor to the office she herself vacates. David Paterson was the first. This  provides her a unique opportunity to improve New York state government. Lieutenant Governor Paterson became Governor in 2008 when Eliot Spitzer Read more…

Improving Representation

Does this seem fair to you? Since the last census, New York’s population grew by 700,000 more people than Montana’s. But under current procedures, New York will lose a seat in the House of Representatives and Montana will gain one. New York will have 26 representatives, the fewest in the last 200 years. Montana will have two representatives, one per 540,000 people. At that ratio, Read more…

A New Way Forward for Our Schools

It seems that end-of-year testing in schools is one aspect of pre-COVID life that has survived the pandemic. Late last week, the NYS Education Department (NYSED) received notice that the US Department of Education (USDE) rejected its request for a waiver from the testing requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The state must therefore administer standardized exams to students in English language Read more…

A New Way to Fire a Governor

Recent weeks have seen a relentless avalanche of reports of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment of women, and his administration’s cover-up for political reasons of large numbers of Covid-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes. In response, many of New York’s leading Democrats in national and state government have called for the governor’s immediate resignation. They argue that the seriousness of the charges, and Read more…

Building Back Better?

by Robin Jacobowitz and Fred Smith This week, the United States Department of Education (USDE) sent a letter to chief state school officers directing them to administer state-level standardized testing in 2021.  This annual testing, waived in spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and has had bipartisan support. It encompasses English Language Arts (ELA) and Read more…

The Chassidic Bloc Vote in Orange County

As expected, in “Solid Blue” New York State, the 2020 presidential election was no contest. Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by just under 2 million votes. But in Orange County in the Hudson Valley, as in many other counties further upstate, the majority went for Trump.  A total of 173,305 Orange County residents voted in the presidential election, about two in three (67.3%) of those Read more…

Buckle Up Poughkeepsie

By Josh Simons with kt Tobin The past two posts in this series have described the uptick in the trend of people moving to the Hudson Valley en masse from New York City in the wake of the COVID pandemic as well as predictions about the scale of this phenomenon (big!), and including the forecast that the most transformative change in the Hudson Valley will Read more…

Strife over tax breaks and tradeoffs: It doesn’t have to be like this

We shouldn’t have to disadvantage taxpayers and our children to build smartly in the 21st century. Robin Jacobowitz with Kt Tobin and Josh Simons It would be pretty hard to be an Ulster County resident and to not by now have heard about the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) sought by the developers of the Kingstonian, a mixed-use project proposed for uptown Kingston, NY. The Ulster Read more…

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