Ravitch warns of fiscal crisis for local governments

Apr 11, 2013

Former Lieutenant-Governor Richard Ravitch returned to Albany Thursday, warning about a fiscal crisis for local governments in New York.  

Ravitch sounded the same alarm when he was lieutenant-governor under former Governor David Paterson.  But many of his long-term fiscal proposals were ignored by lawmakers as the state fiscal crisis worsened. 

Richard Ravitch

During an interview on the Capitol Pressroom yesterday, Ravitch says things have only gotten worse as local governments deal with mounting health care and retirement costs.

"There are real constraints on what mayors and county executives can do cut their expenses," Ravitch said.  "At the same time, we have a property tax cap that limits their ability to raise revenue without coming to Albany."

Ravitch says solutions will require leadership and a willingness by stakeholders to take positions contrary to their usual stance.  As an example, public employee unions will have to accept concessions while elected leaders will have to go against their party policies on issues.