Today, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) held a conference to discuss the most important fiscal and economic issues facing New York. The conference focused on spurring economic development, adopting affordable energy policies, making forward-looking infrastructure investments, and facilitating the continued transformation of the health care system, according to the program. “There are no easy solutions to these challenges,” notes Edward Skylar, the chair of CBC, and Steven Cohen, the conference chair, “but continued focus and effort is required to make progress.”

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic organization whose mission is to achieve constructive change in the finances and services of New York City and New York State government.  Our mission is rooted in serving the citizenry at large, rather than narrow special interests; preserving public resources, whether financial or human; and focusing on the well-being of future New Yorkers, the most underrepresented group in city and state government. — CBC Website

Carol Kellermann, the president of CBC, is stepping down after 10 years leading the organization. Andrew Rein will be the next president of the CBC, starting in January 2019.

The Conference

Steven Cohen, the conference chair, opened the conference.

William Glasgall, senior vice president and director of state and local initiative for The Volcker Alliance, kicked off the conference with a presentation entitled, “Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: Preventing the Next Fiscal Crisis.”

In his 2019 Fiscal Framework for the States, Glasgall notes six factors: the second-largest GDP expansion since 1858, fatter state budgets, more money for rainy day funds, federal budget uncertainty, state budget pressure points, and the slow recovery of the municipal bond market.

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The Volcker Alliance evaluates state budgets with the following five best practices: budget forecasting, budget maneuvers, legacy costs, reserve funds, and budget transparency.

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You can see the Volcker Alliance state maps and tweets from the four policy breakouts on Twitter at #CBCStateConference. Here is more information about the presenters and panelists.

Health Care

Andrew Rein set the stage with a presentation entitled, “Next Stage Health Care System Transformation: Options for New York State.” Stephen Berger moderated a panel response, including Dr. Sherry Glied, Beatrice Grause, Karen Ignagni, and Helen Schaub.



Justin Schultz with HR&A Advisors presented on infrastructure policy, and then Tom Rousakis moderated a panel response, including Joan McDonald, Robert Megna, Margaret Tobin, and Tom Prendergast.


In the energy breakout, Seth Hulkower with Stategic Energy Advisory Services, presented on “Principles and Strategies for an Affordable and Effective State Energy Plan.” Robert Hoglund moderated a panel, including Heather Briccetti, John Rhodes, and Julie Tighe.

Economic Development

Dr. Michael Wasylenko discussed how to spur and sustain economic growth.

Peter Wilcox then moderated a panel including Andrew Kennedy, Stephanie Miner, Denise Zieske, and Kent Gardner — shout out for our GRA colleague even though he didn’t sing! Here is what Kent had to say:

The conference wrapped with a conversation about the political landscape including Edward Wallace, moderating, along with Michael Bejamin with the Wall Street Journal.