Charles M. Brecher

Charles M. Brecher
Professor of Public and Health Administration

Charles Brecher, Professor of Public and Health Administration, teaches the core course in public policy, capstone courses and advanced policy formation electives. He  has published 22 books and numerous book chapters and journal articles in the fields of policy analysis, state and local government and health care finance.    He serves as Research Director for the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan civic organization devoted to improving financial management and service delivery by the City of New York and the State of New York. He is also currently engaged in research on transportation finance and recently completed the U.S. component of a global study of urban transportaion megaprojects funded by a Volvo Foundation grant to the NYU Rudin Center. He received his PhD in political science from the City University of New York and his BA with honors from the University of Florida.

Semester Course
Fall 2012 CORE-GP.1022.003 Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course in many years, and need to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States, are strongly encouraged to take Introduction to Governance (NONCR-0989) module prior to taking Introduction to Public Policy.


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Fall 2012 CAP-GP.3170.001 Capstone: Advanced Project in Public Policy

Couples with CAP-GP.3171.

Open to M.P.A. (public and nonprofit management and policy) students.

As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Capstone, in architecture, is the crowning piece of an arch, the center stone that holds the arch together, giving it shape and strength. Wagner's Capstone program plays a similar role, by providing students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2012 CAP-GP.3170.001 Capstone: Advanced Project in Public Policy

Couples with CAP-GP.3171.

Open to M.P.A. (public and nonprofit management and policy) students.

As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Capstone, in architecture, is the crowning piece of an arch, the center stone that holds the arch together, giving it shape and strength. Wagner's Capstone program plays a similar role, by providing students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2011 CORE-GP.1022.001 Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course in many years, and need to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States, are strongly encouraged to take Introduction to Governance (NONCR-0989) module prior to taking Introduction to Public Policy.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2010 CORE-GP.1022.004 Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course in many years, and need to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States, are strongly encouraged to take Introduction to Governance (NONCR-0989) module prior to taking Introduction to Public Policy.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 CORE-GP.1022.001 Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course in many years, and need to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States, are strongly encouraged to take Introduction to Governance (NONCR-0989) module prior to taking Introduction to Public Policy.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 CORE-GP.1022.001 Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course in many years, and need to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States, are strongly encouraged to take Introduction to Governance (NONCR-0989) module prior to taking Introduction to Public Policy.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2010 CAP-GP.3171.001 Capstone: Advanced Project in Public Policy

Continuation of CAP-GP.3170.

As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Capstone, in architecture, is the crowning piece of an arch, the center stone that holds the arch together, giving it shape and strength. Wagner's Capstone program plays a similar role, by providing students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2009 CAP-GP.3170.001 Capstone: Advanced Project in Public Policy

Couples with CAP-GP.3171.

Open to M.P.A. (public and nonprofit management and policy) students.

As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Capstone, in architecture, is the crowning piece of an arch, the center stone that holds the arch together, giving it shape and strength. Wagner's Capstone program plays a similar role, by providing students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2009 CORE-GP.1022.002 Introduction to Public Policy

Introduction to Public Policy covers a wide range of topics, from the norms and values informing democratic policymaking to the basics of cost-benefit and other tools of policy analysis. Though emphases will differ based on instructor strengths, all sections will address the institutional arrangements for making public policy decisions, the role of various actors-including nonprofit and private-sector professionals-in shaping policy outcomes, and the fundamentals (and limits) of analytic approaches to public policy.

Note: Students who have not taken an American Government course in many years, and need to brush up on knowledge of the basic design and functions of the governmental units in the United States, are strongly encouraged to take Introduction to Governance (NONCR-0989) module prior to taking Introduction to Public Policy.


Download Syllabus
Spring 2009 PADM-GP.2411.001 Policy Formation and Policy Analysis

The purpose of the course is to deepen students’ understanding of the way in which public policy and political realities interact in American government at the national, state, and local levels: how political pressures limit policy choices, how policy choices in turn reshape politics, and how policymakers can function in the interplay of competing forces. The theme explored is how public officials balance concerns for substantive policy objectives, institutional politics and elective politics in order to achieve change. The nature of key legislative and executive institutional objectives and roles is examined. In addition, attention is given to the role of policy analysis and analysts in shaping policy decisions, seeking to identify their potential for positive impact and their limitations in the political process.

A second goal of the course is to sharpen students’ ability to think and write like professional policy analysts. Students will be asked to apply both a policy analysis framework and a political perspective to the issues under discussion


Download Syllabus
Spring 2009 CAP-GP.3171.001 Capstone: Advanced Project in Public Policy

Continuation of CAP-GP.3170.

As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Capstone, in architecture, is the crowning piece of an arch, the center stone that holds the arch together, giving it shape and strength. Wagner's Capstone program plays a similar role, by providing students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.


Download Syllabus
Fall 2008 PADM-GP.2411.001 Policy Formation and Policy Analysis

The purpose of the course is to deepen students’ understanding of the way in which public policy and political realities interact in American government at the national, state, and local levels: how political pressures limit policy choices, how policy choices in turn reshape politics, and how policymakers can function in the interplay of competing forces. The theme explored is how public officials balance concerns for substantive policy objectives, institutional politics and elective politics in order to achieve change. The nature of key legislative and executive institutional objectives and roles is examined. In addition, attention is given to the role of policy analysis and analysts in shaping policy decisions, seeking to identify their potential for positive impact and their limitations in the political process.

A second goal of the course is to sharpen students’ ability to think and write like professional policy analysts. Students will be asked to apply both a policy analysis framework and a political perspective to the issues under discussion


Download Syllabus
Fall 2008 CAP-GP.3170.001 Capstone: Advanced Project in Public Policy

Couples with CAP-GP.3171.

Open to M.P.A. (public and nonprofit management and policy) students.

As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Capstone, in architecture, is the crowning piece of an arch, the center stone that holds the arch together, giving it shape and strength. Wagner's Capstone program plays a similar role, by providing students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.


Download Syllabus
Date Publication/Paper
2013

Charles Brecher and Shanna Rose 2013. Medicaid's Next Metamorphosis Public Administration Review, Vol 73, no. 4
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Abstract

Medicaid’s transformation since its inception rivals the biological changes of metamorphosis, and that process is not yet over. Past metamorphoses are the change from a small program with eligibility linked to the states’ cash welfare benefits to one with national eligibility standards covering many not receiving cash benefits, from a traditional fee-for-service payment program to one dominated by capitated managed care arrangements, and under the ACA to a widely accepted component of a national system for near universal insurance coverage. An analysis of the forces behind these significant changes suggests that future transformations are likely, and four potential scenarios are presented and assessed.

2012

Matthew Drennan and Brecher, Charles 2012. Can Public Transportation Increase Economic Efficiency? ACCESS Magazine
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Abstract

The concentration of economic activities in urban areas yields efficiency gains due to agglomeration economies. Matthew Drennan and Charles Brecher measure whether public transportation service can add to these benefits and make urban areas more productive.

2010

Brecher, C. & Horton, R.D. 2010. "Budget," "Mayorality," and "City Council" in Encyclopedia of New York City Yale University Press, second edition
Abstract

2009

Brecher, C., Brazill, C., Silver, D. & Weitzman, B.C. 2009. "Understanding the Political Context of 'New' Policy Issues: The Use of the Advocacy Coalition Framework in the Case of Expanded After-School Programs" Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Abstract

This article uses the Advocacy Coalition Framework to identify the stakeholders and their coalitions in the arena of after-school policy, which drew much new attention beginning in the early 1990s in many American cities. Using evidence from case studies in five cities, we show how the framework can be extended beyond stakeholder analysis to include identification of core and secondary value conflicts and of opportunities for policy analysis to help strengthen coalitions and pressures for change. Coalitions in each of the cities differ over core values relating to the purposes of after-school programs (academics versus "fun"), but policy analysts can promote common goals by developing options to deal with the secondary conflicts over the relative importance of facilities versus program content, the modes of collaboration between public schools and community based organizations, and the incentives for public school teachers to engage in staffing after-school programs.

Brecher, C. & Wise, O. 2009. Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Challenges in Managing Philanthropic Support for Public Services Public Administration Review, Special Issue.
Abstract

Collaborations between nonprofit and public sector organizations have become an increasingly important phenomenon in state and local public service delivery since the publication of the Winter Commission report in 1993. This article focuses on one of the less studied types of public–nonprofit collaborations, those in which philanthropic support from nonprofit organizations supplements the resources and activities of public agencies. Drawing on the case of "nonprofit-as-supplement collaborations" that support park services in New York City, this article documents the benefits and drawbacks associated with such collaborations. While they can provide increased resources and encourage management innovations, they also can lead to inequities in the availability and quality of services, the preponderance of particularistic goals over the broader public interest, and the politicization of previously bureaucratic decision making. The authors offer two strategies for public managers to realize more effectively the benefits yet mitigate the shortcomings of these collaborations.

2007

Brecher, C. & CBC Staff. 2007. Options for Budget Reform in New York State Citizens Budget Commission, October
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Abstract

This background paper focuses on the greater accountability and transparency in fiscal decision making. It has been prepared to inform discussion among the participants at the first CBC agenda setting conference, scheduled for September 20, 2007. The paper is organized into three sections. The first is a definition of the problem; it defines in some detail the limited accountability and transparency that have characterized the New York State budget process in past years. The second section describes the progress made in addressing these problems during recent legislative sessions, focusing particularly on the 2007 session. The last section describes options that can be pursed in 2008 and subsequently to make even more substantial progress. The options are not all mutually exclusive, but they are relatively numerous. Conference participants are asked to review these options for discussion in the forum on September 20. The views expressed by experts attending the forum will be considered in the preparation of a final document that will summarize recommended actions for State leaders.

Brecher, C. & Mustovic, S. 2007. A Prescription for Getting the MTA on the Right Fiscal Track The Stamford Review, Fall, pp. 27-24.
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Abstract

Typically when an asset is acquired it is assigned a "useful life" representing the amount of time it can be expected to stay in use. Then a fraction of the asset's purchase price, equal to one year of its "useful life," is counted as an annual expenditure called depreciation. The MTA's depreciation schedules are based upon estimated useful lives of 25 to 50 years for buildings, two to 40 years for equipment, and 25 to 100 years for infrastructure. Most subway cars are depreciated over 30 years and buses over 12 years. Setting aside money equal to the value of depreciation, known as "funding depreciation," is a way of ensuring that an organization has adequate capital to replace assets at the end of their useful life. In contrast, failing to fund depreciation enables an organization to meet its cash expenses each year without having a budget that is balanced under generally accepted accounting principles. However, the adverse consequence of this practice is a shortage of capital and a resulting need to borrow in order to replace depreciated assets. This is the path the MTA routinely takes.

Brecher, C. & Wise, O. 2007. Making the Most of Our Parks Citizens Budget Commission, June(Separate Summary document released September 2007).
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Abstract

Parks play important roles in city life. They are a source of respite from the bustle of the urban environment, a place for active recreation and exercise for adults, and a safe place for children to play outdoors. In addition, parks preserve sensitive environmental areas, and, by making neighborhoods more attractive, enhance property values and the tax base of the city.

2006

Harvey, D., Lynam, E. & Brecher, C. 2006. The Armonk Agenda: Next Steps for Fiscal Reform in New York State Citizens Budget Commission, October
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Abstract

On April 7-8, 2006, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) convened a conference in Armonk, New York with the goal of identifying widely supported, high-priority measures for fiscal reform in New York State. This document highlights those measures in order to raise awareness and promote discussion of them in the coming year.

Brecher, C. & Brill, J. 2006. New York’s Public Authorities: Promoting Accountability and Taming Debt Citizen Budget Commission, September
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Abstract

The New York City Affairs Committee (the "Committee") of the New York City Bar Association (the "Association") conducted an extensive review of the financing by New York City ("City") of the development of the Hudson Rail Yards, a 45-block area on the far west side of Manhattan adjacent to the mid-Manhattan central business district. The Committee focused on the historical and fiscal ramifications of the financing and its incentive structures which can be fairly characterized as creative and unusual. The Association's review is intended to provoke discussion about the means of financing infrastructure in New York City.

Brecher, C. 2006. Danger Ahead! How to Balance the MTA’s Budget Citizens Budget Commission, June
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Abstract

Despite its essential role in sustaining the New York economy, the MTA is not financed in a consistent or sensible
manner. Specifically, the financing arrangements for the MTA result in:
Problem 1: Repeated operating deficits.
Problem 2: Capital investments insufficient to bring its facilities to a state of good repair.

In order for New York to maintain a strong and vibrant economy, its transportation system has to be kept up to par and expanded to meet future needs. This report examines the two problems and suggests alternative financing policies for the MTA that would balance its operating budget and provide sufficient capital to accelerate the pace at which its facilities are brought to a state of good repair.

The next section describes the vital role of the MTA in transporting people to their jobs in New York's central business district. The following sections explain the MTA's problems identified above, present the CBC's guidelines for funding the MTA services in the future, and estimate the agency's expenditure and revenue requirements under those guidelines. The final section deals with options for meeting revenue requirements by increasing cross subsides from auto users.

Brecher, C. & Fortuna, D. 2006. Debt Mess New York Post April 25,
Abstract

Brecher, C., Lynam, E. & Spiezio, S. 2006. Medicaid in New York: Why New York’s Program is the Most Expensive in the Nation and What to Do About It Citizens Budget Commission, April
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Abstract

This report makes the case that it is possible to lower Medicaid expenditures by about $5.8 billion annually, without reducing the program's effectiveness in helping low-income New Yorkers obtain needed care. These significant savings are feasible by addressing the three main areas where New York's program differs drastically from those of other states:

New York extends Medicaid eligibility to the non-poor or middle class for longterm
care.
New York pays some institutional providers, specifically hospitals, nursing homes
and institutions for the disabled, at rates above competitive costs.
New York allows excessive use of some types of services, specifically personal care
and inpatient hospital care.

This report describes these differences and makes three recommendations to bring New York's program more in line with national norms:

Limit Medicaid eligibility to the poor.
Reduce payment rates to competitive levels.
Reduce excessive use of personal care and hospital inpatient care.

 

Brecher, C., Lynam, E. & Spiezio, S. 2006. Old Assumptions, New Realities: The Truth About Wages and Retirement Benefits for Government Employees Citizens Budget Commission, April
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Abstract

Most government workers are paid more than their private sector counterparts, so more generous and expensive
retirement benefits are no longer justified.

Brecher, C. & Brill, J. 2006. Public Authorities in New York State. Citizens Budget Commission, April
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Abstract

Public authorities play a major role in delivering public services. They supplement direct government agencies in three ways:

• Provide a business-like organizational structure for public services that are financed primarily by user fees and whose capital investments are self-financed through bonds supported by user fees.
• Provide a stewardship for major capital assets and make long-run investment decisions with some isolation from pressures of the electoral cycle.
• Provide a mechanism for taking advantage of federal tax benefits for economic development and other purposes that otherwise would be treated as private activities.

Authorities are intended to strike a balance between political accountability and political independence. Unlike heads of direct government agencies, governing boards of authorities are expected to be more independent of those who appoint them, to make difficult and unpopular decisions outside the arena of elected politics, and to be accountable to the public indirectly through reporting, transparency in decision-making and long-run performance. New York State makes extensive use of public authorities.

 

 

2005

Brecher, C. 2005. Why the MTA is Right New York Daily News December 22,
Abstract

Brecher, C. & Lynam, E. 2005. New York’s Endangered Future: Debt Beyond Our Means Citizens Budget Commission, September
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Abstract

New York State has too much debt. Its obligations will require current and future taxpayers to bear a burden that creates a competitive disadvantage with the other states. Not only is the absolute amount of New York's debt high, but the burden is excessive even after the State's relatively large tax base and other relevant factors are taken into account.

The core issue is that New York has no effective legal limits on the amount of debt it can assume. Constitutional provisions intended to limit debt are outdated and are circumvented regularly. Statutory limits - passed in 2000 - are also being circumvented. Simply put, it has become too easy for State leaders to borrow. In addition, they have misused debt, which should be restricted to paying for long-term capital projects, by financing annual operating expenses.

Short-run and long-run measures are needed. In the near term, voters should reject bond referendums such as the Transportation Bond Act of 2005 until debt is brought under control. That act would authorize only $2.9 billion of an additional $13 billion in planned State borrowing, but it is the only opportunity that voters have to express their opposition to excessive borrowing. In the long-run the State must strike a balance between adequate infrastructure investment and a competitive debt burden. The State needs a new constitutional limit that does not require voter approval for every debt issuance, but does impose a binding limit that is linked to ability to pay.

 

Rosen, R., Van Wagner, M. & Brecher, C. 2005. Encouraging Small Business Success in New York City and Northern New Jersey: What Firms Value Most. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, July
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Abstract

Small businesses are a vital component of the regional economy. In New York City, more than 200,000 firms qualify as small businesses, and together they account for fully two-thirds of the city's private sector jobs. Although small businesses by definition employ fewer than 500 employees, 96 percent of New York's small firms have fewer than 50 employees.* Northern New Jersey has roughly the same number of small firms and a similar distribution of employment. Because of their importance in creating jobs, small businesses merit close attention in the formulation of economic development policies. To identify the needs of small businesses, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Citizens
Budget Commission recently surveyed small business owners in New York City and northern New Jersey. The CEOs or presidents of these firms were queried about four issues: What factors do you consider most important to the success of your business? How do you rate your satisfaction with New York City or northern New Jersey with respect to those factors? What cities or regions would you consider for relocation, and what cost differential would you require to relocate? What types of financing do you receive, and whom do you consult for financial advice?

The results of our survey, presented below in detail, point to two major findings. First, New York City and northern New Jersey firms agree broadly on the three factors most important to the success of their businesses: 1) the overall cost of doing business, 2) proximity to markets and clients, and 3) access to a skilled labor force. Second, most of the small business leaders are relatively satisfied with the current location of their businesses with respect to two of the three success factors; however, they are dissatisfied with the overall cost of doing business at their current location. The survey also reveals that about one in seven business leaders would move for a cost savings of less than 10 percent, and about four in ten business leaders would relocate for a cost savings of greater than 20 percent. Finally, the share of firms that have obtained bank credit is notably larger in northern New Jersey than in New York City.

 

Brecher, C., Silver, D. & Weitzman, B.C. 2005. Following the Money: Using Expenditure Analysis as an Evaluation Tool American Journal of Evaluation, Volume 26, Number 2, 150-165.
Abstract

This article describes the nature and utility of fiscal analysis in evaluating complex community interventions. Using New York University's evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Urban Health Initiative as an example, the authors describe issues arising in defining and operationalizing constructs for fiscal analysis. The approach's utility is demonstrated in the use of interim findings to help redefine the program's goals for resource allocation, to modify its theory of change to include greater emphasis on state-level action, and to emphasize the importance of local public schools as resource centers and intervention targets. The fiscal analysis also provides new insights into the limitations of "preventive" versus "corrective" spending categories and helps make goals for such functional reallocation more realistic. The authors discuss limitations of fiscal analysis due to available data quality, the extent of cooperation needed from public officials to collect relevant data, and the level of expertise needed to interpret the data.

Brecher, C. 2005. The Case for Redesigning Retirement Benefits for New York’s Public Employees. Citizens Budget Commission, April
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Abstract

This report presents recommendations for redesigning the retirement benefits - health insurance and pension payments - for employees of the City of New York and State of New York. It includes a description of current benefits and a comparison to benefits provided by other large private and public employers.

2004

Brecher, C. 2004. Can New York Get an “A” in School Finance Reform? Citizens Budget Commission, November
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Abstract

The State of New York faces a major challenge stemming from a 2003 ruling by the Court of Appeals, the State's highest court. It found that the more than one million children in New York City's public schools were not provided with the sound basic education guaranteed to them by the State Constitution. In the subsequent months, the plaintiffs and the State's political leaders have not agreed on a suitable remedy for students in New York City, and by extension to hundreds of thousands of additional students in other school districts around the state who also have been denied their constitutional right. One important issue to be resolved is: How much additional funding is needed?

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) has prepared this report to address two questions fundamental to designing a remedy:

- Where should the money come from?
- What changes other than more money are essential to improving educational
outcomes?

 

Brecher, C. 2004. Financing Transportation Services in the New York Region Citizens Budget Commission, March
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Abstract

With the largest metropolitan labor force in the nation, and one of the densest concentrations of employment in the world, New York requires an extensive mass transit system as well as a large network of highways to bring its workers from their homes to their jobs and back. If its transportation system is not well maintained and does not expand to meet future needs, then the New York economy will not thrive. This report examines the financing policies for passenger transportation services in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. Included are 25 entities consisting of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit, four additional authorities operating or financing toll roads, the City of New York, and 15 counties. The combined annual operating expenditures of these agencies for transportation services are approximately $13 billion. This is the first comprehensive, fiscal analysis of these agencies. The recommendations call for a public enterprise approach to organizing and financing transportation. Similar to water systems, transportation systems have individual customers who should pay appropriate fees (fares, tolls, and others) to benefit from the services. These fees should be dedicated to supporting transportation facilities with subsidies from general government limited in size and purpose but provided in a predictable manner. By combining pre-determined subsidies with strong reliance on user fees, transportation agencies can operate more like independent businesses, able to plan and deliver services that their customers want.

Brecher, C., Searcy, C., Silver, D. & Weitzman, B.C. 2004. What Does Government Spend on Children? Evidence from Five Cities Brookings Institute, Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, March,
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Abstract

 

This paper examines public spending on children between 1997 and 2000 in five localities: Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Richmond. These cities participate in the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), a ten-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program aimed at improving health and safety for young people in these cities. The Center for Health and Public Service Research at New York University is evaluating the program. The evaluation seeks to determine whether collaborative efforts of interested organizations can develop and implement plans to change service delivery systems for children, and whether such changes result in better outcomes for children. A group of ten additional cities serves as a comparative benchmark.

 

 

Brecher, C. & Spiezio, S. 2004. Confronting the Tradeoffs in Medicaid Cost Containment Citizens Budget Commission, February
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Abstract

A common pressure on the State and City budgets is the rapid growth in spending for Medicaid. For this reason, the Committee asked the CBC staff to explore ways to control Medicaid expenditures. In a series of meetings that reviewed analyses prepared by the staff, the Committee identified the important tradeoffs inherent in trying to curb Medicaid expenditures. This report reflects the Committee’s thinking on how to address these difficult tradeoffs in ways that best reflect the values most important to the future fiscal and economic health of New York City and New York State, including a deep concern for the ability of poorer New Yorkers to have access to needed medial care.

Brecher, C. et al. 2004. The Palisades Principles: Fixing New York State's Fiscal Practices Citizens Budget Commission, February
Abstract

"The Palisades Principles" emerged from a two-day conference, organized by the Citizens Budget Commission and held on November 13 and 14, 2003. The conference, held in Palisades, New York, brought together more than 150 government officials, civic leaders, business and labor leaders, social service agency heads, academic experts, and media representatives from across New York State to discuss ways of addressing the State's fiscal crisis. The crisis, which continues, is evidenced in part by the fact that in 2003 the State had to close a staggering $12 billion budget gap; New York's local tax burden remains the worst in the country due to the mandates that the State places on its localities; New York's credit rating is among the lowest in the nation; and its budget has been adopted late for 19 years in a row.

The conference focused on five problems that hurt New York State:

PROBLEM 1: New Yorkers are the most heavily taxed Americans.

PROBLEM 2: New York's debt burden is among the highest in the nation.

PROBLEM 3: New York has large and recurring budget gaps.

PROBLEM 4: New York's budget process lacks timeliness, transparency, and responsibility.

PROBLEM 5: Improvements in fiscal practices are hampered by unresponsive governmental institutions.

 

2003

Brecher, C., Richwerger, K. & Van Wagner, M. 2003. An Approach to Measuring the Affordability of State Debt Public Budgeting and Finance, Volume 23, Issue 4, pages 65-85.
Abstract

Affordability is one important and widely accepted element of state and local debt policy. However, there is no well-established measure of affordability and no clear standard for making normative judgments about what amount of debt is affordable for a specific jurisdiction. This article suggests a six-step method for measuring affordability of state debt that provides a useful guideline for determining when a state may be entering a "danger zone" by having debt that exceeds norms of affordability.
2002

Fortuna, D. & Brecher, C. 2002. 10 Myths About Balancing New York City's Budget and 5 Ways to Lower the Cost of Government by $1 Billion per Year Citizens Budget Commission, December,
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Abstract

Sound budget policy requires a clear understanding of the nature of fiscal problems and creative thinking in the design of solutions. The recent public debate about how to close
New York City's unprecedented budget gap falls short on both counts. The Citizens Budget Commission - a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization - has prepared this document to clear up a series of common misunderstandings that hinder the debate and to focus attention on the potential for significant savings by delivering City services more efficiently. The first part of the document identifies ten "myths" about the budget and provides the facts that dispel them. The second part presents five ideas that together
would save the City more than $1 billion annually. The ideas are based on research conducted by the Commission's staff and presented in greater detail in separate reports published by the Commission.

Silver, D., Weitzman, B.C. & Brecher, C. 2002. Setting an Agenda for Local Action: The Limits of Expert Opinion and Community Voice Policy Studies Journal (2002 - Vol. 30, No. 3), pp. 362-278.
Abstract

Many social programs, funded by government or philanthropy, begin with efforts to improve local conditions with strategic planning. Mandated by funders, these processes aim to include the views of community residents and those with technical expertise. Program leaders are left to reconcile public and expert opinions in determining how to shape their programs. The experience of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Urban Health Initiative suggests that although consultation with experts and the public failed to reveal a clear assessment of the community's problems or their solutions, it did assist in engaging diverse groups. Despite this engagement, however, core leaders wielded substantial power in selecting the agenda.

Brecher, C. 2002. The 40-Hour Week: A Proposal to Increase the Productivity of Non-Managerial Civilian Municipal Workers Citizens Budget Commission, December,
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Abstract

This report presents and examines a deceptively simple idea: That a large group of municipal employees, about 67,000 "non-managerial civilians," increase their workweek from 35 to 40 hours. The purpose of this change is to yield a substantial savings for the City and its taxpayers by enabling fewer workers to provide the existing package of public services.

Brecher, C. 2002. The Public Interest Company as a Mechanism to Improve Service Delivery: Suggestions for the Reorganization of the London Underground and National health Service Trusts Public Management Foundation, March
Abstract

A major issue on the national agenda in the United Kingdom is how to improve public services. There is no single, simple solution. A serious commitment to that goal will require additional resources and innovative leadership that can use the funding wisely. Such an effort also will require new organizational forms for the delivery of services. Alternatives to both traditional public bureaucracies and for-profit businesses are likely to be an essential component of designs for more cost effective public services. The Public Management Foundation (PMF) in London is a ‘think tank' that has begun to address the emerging need for new organizational structures. Their suggestion is to develop an entity that they call a ‘public interest company' (PIC). Such a body is proposed as one of many ways to help improve services: ‘Our collective point is that the way in which the British system allows organisations to deliver public services has been too restrictive and a far wider variety of organisational forms for public service delivery needs to be encouraged. The public interest company will be just one of these.'

2001

Brecher, C. & Spiezio, S. 2001. Better Managing New York State's Health Insurance Subsidy Programs Citizens Budget Commission, September,
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Abstract

This report analyzes the administrative complexities and problems that limit the impact of the subsidized health insurance programs available to New Yorkers. It recommends reform strategies and calls on the Governor to assign responsibility to the State Health Commissioner for redesigning the system.

Brecher, C. et al. 2001. New York's Competitiveness: A Scorecard for 13 U.S. Metropolitan Areas Citizens Budget Commission, July,
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Abstract

This comparative scorecard for the New York Metropolitan region - an area which stretches from Waterbury, CT to Trenton, NJ - presents 36 indicators covering eight categories of economic and social well-being. How does New York's current condition compare to that of other large metropolitan areas, and how does New York's performance in the last five years compare to that of these other areas? The 12 metropolitan areas to which New York is compared are: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

Brecher, C., Offerman, D. & Lynam, E. 2001. A Review of the January 2001 Financial Plan for the City of New York Citizens Budget Commission, March,
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Abstract

This report analyzes Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's Preliminary Financial Plan for the City of New York for fiscal years 2002 to 2005.

Brecher, C., Searcy, C. & Richwerger, K. 2001. New York State's Competitiveness: A Scorecard for 12 States Citizens Budget Commission, February,
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Abstract

This comparative scorecard for New York State examines 34 indicators covering nine categories of economic and social well-being for nine of the ten largest states in the nation in terms of population, and two of New York's geographic neighbors, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In each case, the data address two questions: How does New York State's current condition compare to that of other large or neighboring states, and how does New York's change in the last five years compare to that of these similar states?

2000

Brecher, C. et al. 2000. The Citizens' Stakes in Collective Bargaining: Recommendations for the Current Negotiations with the Municipal Employee Unions Citizens Budget Commission, December
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Abstract

Nearly all of the City of New York's employees are working without new contracts. In August, the CBC released a report on contract negotiations with the United Federation of Teachers. This report focuses on the rest of the municipal workforce. It provides background information on negotiations and suggests measures to promote more efficient services.

Richwerger, K. & Brecher, C. 2000. An Affordable Debt Policy for New York State and New York City Citizens Budget Commission, October,
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Abstract

Do New York State and New York City have too much debt? This report addresses the question by presenting criteria for deciding how much state and local debt is affordable, and recommending how those criteria should be applied to decisions by New York State and New York City. This report provides a measure that can be used by states and cities throughout the nation to judge the impact that their debt will have on their ability to compete with other jurisdictions effectively.

Brecher, C., Lynam, E. & Searcy, C. 2000. Using Collective Bargaining to Improve Public Education: Recommendations for the 2000 Negotiations With the United Federation of Teachers Citizens Budget Commission, August
Abstract

In September 2000, formal negotiations begin over the terms of the next public school teachers' contract, which expires later this year. This report identifies priority changes to the contract that would help make New York public schools more effective.

Brecher, C. & Lynam, E. 2000. Making More Effective Use of New York State's Prisons Citizens Budget Commission, May,
Abstract

This report focuses on the cost-effectiveness of the policies of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, and makes four recommendations for achieving operational savings without diminishing public safety. These recommendations are: (1) to extend the reach and effectiveness of tested alternatives, such as boot camp and the CASAT program; (2) to develop new alternatives for additional inmate groups; (3) to reengineer the parole system; (4) to create an enhanced research and development unit.

1999

Brecher, C. & Spiezio, S. 1999. Financing Medical Care for the Uninsured in New York State Citizens Budget Commission, March .
Abstract

Approximately 3.1 million State residents (one of every six New Yorkers) have no health insurance. This report describes the uninsured population in New York State and the public programs that currently finance medical care for the uninsured. It also identifies the inadequacies of these programs and makes recommendations for reform.

1998

Brecher, C., Roistacher, E. & Spiezio, S. 1998. The Media and Communications Industries in New York City Citizens Budget Commission, December.
Abstract

What will be the next important source of employment growth in New York City? Informed observers suggest that jobs will come from the media and communications sector. This report provides an analysis of the sector's job growth prospects in the coming years. The industries included in the sector and reviewed in the report are print media, telephone, radio and television, motion pictures and recorded music, advertising and related services, computer-related services, and news services and syndicates. Research for the report is based on compiled data on the scale and scope of media and communications activities nationally, and interviews conducted with senior executives of 23 large media and communications firms.

Brecher, C., Weitzman, B. & Schall, E. 1998. Health Management Education Partnerships: More Than Technology Transfer Journal of Health Administration Education, Spring.
Abstract

This article presents the reflections of three faculty members from New York University based on more than two years of experience in a health management education (HME) partnership with institutions in the Republic of Albania. The most significant point to be shared with colleagues considering similar initiatives in other countries is that aiding other professionals in developing health management education programs involves much more than the transfer of technical information among professionals. Based on experience in Albania, we argue that the development of viable management and policy analysis programs will require assistance to counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe in: (1) building constituencies for these activities among influential leaders and sustaining this support through changes in government; (2) providing models of and motivations for using styles of pedagogy that vary significantly from those now common in this part of the world; and (3) reconciling conflicts between pressures for investments in the largely hospital-based activity of health management and the largely public-health-based needs of relatively poor countries.

1997

Brecher, C., Kane, S. & Mead, D. 1997. The State of Municipal Services in the 1990s: The New York City Department of Correction Citizens Budget Commission, August.
Abstract

This report is the first of a series assessing the performance of municipal agencies from 1990 to 1996, a period marked by fiscal austerity and retrenchment. The CBC concludes that the City improved the quality of living conditions in jails, but reduced the quality of some inmate services. Overall, the Department of Correction failed to improve efficiency despite some significant accomplishments.

1996

Brecher, C. et al. 1996. Budget 2000 Project (7 volumes) Citizens Budget Commission, December .
Abstract

The Budget 2000 Project recommends actions that will reduce the cost of government in New York by between $12.8 and $19.7 billion, amounts large enough not only to balance the budgets of the Two New Yorks, shift the local government costs of public assistance and Medicaid to the State, and fund salary increases for workers who assist in the restructuring, but still leave at least $9.3 billion to improve New York's competitiveness by investing in the infrastructure, enhancing services and cutting taxes.

1995

Brecher, C., Roistacher, E. & Spiezio, S. 1995. Professional Business Services in the New York City Economy Citizens Budget Commission, August .
Abstract

This report is the first in a series of studies that will examine the growth prospects of the New York City economy. This first study analyzes the financial services, legal services, and accounting and management consulting sectors, and combines original data obtained through detailed interviews with 25 firms in these industries with existing data from previously published analyses and surveys. The study concludes that while New York will continue to be a global center for these industries, the shape of these industries within the city will change, and the industries are unlikely to be the significant source of employment growth in the future that they have been in the past. The report includes 36 tables with longitudinal data examining employment and business activity in these sectors of the New York City economy, as well as the relationship between these sectors and the larger domestic and international markets.

Brecher, C. & Spiezio, S. 1995. Modernizing the Municipal Employee Health Insurance Program Citizens Budget Commission, April .
Abstract

This report examines the high cost of City health insurance. The approach includes both an historical review of the City's program and comparative analysis of the practices of other large public and private employers. The report recommends structural reforms that would yield nearly $600 million in recurring savings and still provide employees and retirees with benefits better than most of their counterparts in government and business.

Brecher, C. 1995. "Mayoralty" and "City Council" Kenneth T. Jackson, editor, Encyclopedia of New York City, Yale University Press.
Abstract

New York City is the biggest, oldest, most crowded, most historic, most ethnically diverse metropolis in the United States. Perhaps because of its vastness, no one before has attempted to compile a reference work that embraces all its aspects. Now here is a book as varied and exciting and all encompassing as the city itself--the definitive reference work on New York City.

Brecher, C. & Spiezio, S. 1995. Privatization and Public Hospitals: Choosing Wisely for New York City Twentieth Century Fund Press.
Abstract