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  • Coronavirus’s Upstate Impact - There is much that we do not know about the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Because testing has been severely limited, and available only to health care workers and hospital patients in most cases, we don't know the real extent of the virus in the community.   Because the virus is…
  • Local Leaders’ Role in Combating the Economic Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic -  The Covid-19 health response has shut down New York’s local economies.  With most business activities on pause, local government leaders should be addressing the economic impact now and preparing for the time when businesses are permitted to reopen. To date, the health impact of the virus in Upstate New York…
  • Countering the Economic Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic - We have seen alarming estimates of the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on disease and death, as well as on our economy.  Some have suggested that more than half of our population could be infected - more than 160 million people and that one or two percent of those…
  • The (Sometimes Un-)Affordable Care Act - Consider four families of four with two children living near Albany, New York. The breadwinners in the family had recently taken jobs that do not offer health insurance. As the Affordable Care Act was written, they were required to purchase health insurance. Families one and two earn nearly the same…
  • Income Inequality in Metropolitan Areas - In many respects, the American economy has done extraordinarily well since the great recession of 2008. We have seen a long period of growth in employment, while unemployment has dropped to levels not seen in many decades. But this period has also seen a troubling increase in income polarization, which…
  • A Closer Look at Student Performance in Upstate City Schools - Parents in central cities seeking good educations for their children face the disconcerting reality that relatively few city school children pass standardized tests required by New York State, suggesting that the schools are failing.  In Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Schenectady, less than 20% of students passed state required English Language Arts…
  • Education, Economic Status and Student Performance in New York School Districts - Note:  A more recent, closer look at this subject may be found here:  https://policybynumbers.com/a-closer-look-at-student-performance-in-upstate-city-schools In 1966, James S. Coleman and associates wrote the report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity," for the United States Department of Health Education and Welfare, as required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The report was…
  • Rochester’s Broken School System - Kent Gardner argues forcefully in the Rochester Beacon that Rochester’s school system is broken and in need of radical change. Gardner’s post highlights the efforts of a local organization, ROC the Future, to bring about reform of the city’s school system. Gardner is correct – students in the city’s schools…
  • New York’s Local Revenue Sharing Aid Program is Broken:  How to Fix It - Most New Yorkers are aware that the state has a cap on local property taxes that has effectively slowed their growth.  But few know that residents of a few large cities benefit from a multi-million-dollar infusion of state dollars that limits property taxes, while residents of smaller cities, towns and…
  • Times Union Op-Ed: State’s Unfair City Aid Formula Needs Revising - I've been looking at how well the State's local revenue sharing works.  It doesn't work well.  I wrote an Op-Ed that appears in the Albany Times-Union this weekend:  It may be found here:  https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/State-s-unfair-city-aid-formula-needs-revising-13709884.php I'll have a longer piece that takes a closer look at this on my blog next…
  • New York’s Amazon Debacle – Some Lessons - Predictably, Amazon's decision to abandon its HQ2 project with 25,000+ future jobs in New York City  led to acrimony with opposing politicians and some commentators blaming the company for abandoning its effort.   Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an early project opponent tried to re-frame her stance saying, "We do not have to…
  • How the State Senate Gerrymander Ultimately Hurt Upstate Residents - The November election brought a marked change in the composition of the New York State Senate that will have significant implications for upstate New York residents.  Tom Precious in the Buffalo News noted, “Majority party rules and minority party lawmakers are left with table scraps when it comes to funding…
  • Misconceptions About People in Poverty: Are Work Requirements Effective? - This is an expanded version of the essay, "False Stereotypes Harm People in Poverty" that appeared in the Rochester Beacon, containing additional information relating to the five largest upstate metropolitan areas. __________________________________________________ Misconceptions about people in poverty appear to drive proposed changes in social welfare policy, particularly the work requirements…
  • Misconceptions About People in Poverty: The Push for Work Requirements - Misconceptions about people in poverty appear to drive proposed changes in social welfare policy, particularly the work requirements either being promoted by the Trump Administration and discussed or implemented in several states. A fuller understanding of factors underlying the problem of poverty suggests that these policies will be counterproductive, neither…
  • How Amazon Could Help Upstate New York - One of the Thanksgiving meal discussions at my house involved Amazon's new HQ2 and why Governor Cuomo didn't get the company to locate its new facility in upstate New York.  And, though my argument that upstate metropolitan areas lacked technology focused labor pools of sufficient size to be seriously considered…