"Improving Albany" Takes Center Stage at NYU Wagner Forum

"Improving Albany" Takes Center Stage at NYU Wagner Forum

Richard Ravitch

The question of what to do about New York’s indictment-prone State Legisature took center stage at an all-day conference at NYU Wagner on April 30 entitled “Improving Albany: A Path to Greater Effectiveness.”

The forum's galaxy of participants — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, former Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch, New Yorker writer Ken Auletta, and many others — discussed the legal, electoral, budgetary, and political reforms required to enable the Legislature to regain public confidence and tackle policies and issues that matter in the lives of millions of New Yorkers.

Richard Brodsky, who served in the State Assembly and is a Visiting Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Wagner, hosted the conference along with Wagner’s Dean Sherry Glied and Richard Ravitch.

The morning panel included: Columbia law professor Richard Briffault, chair of the NYC Conflict of Interest Board and a former member of the state Moreland Act Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (2013-14); Peter Goldmark, a veteran state government executive and most recently Director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and air program; Common Cause's Executive Director Susan Lerner; and Vance. Dean Glied was the moderator.

For the afternoon panel, Auletta of the New Yorker was joined by Mayor Miner, who described the frustrations posed by the state’s “opaque” budget approval process;  Mary Louise Mallick, a former senior policy maker with the New York State Senate Finance Committee; and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who is now Chairman of the New York State Housing Finance Committee and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA).  Brodsky moderated the discussion.

Both conversations were lively, showing the complexities of preventing public corruption and what approaches are possible. Recommendations ranged from drawing clearer lines between legal and illegal conduct to requiring greater transparency, along with passing public campaign finance reform and — at least in the view of some of the speakers — setting term limits for legislators.

Some of the panelists said it's up to the Legislature's leadership and its younger members to improve accountability, raise the bar for impact and effectiveness, and lead the way out of Albany’s "swamp." Since they haven’t acted so far, “they’ve made themselves an easy target,” said Susan Lerner.

"Portfolios of the Poor," co-authored by Prof. Jonathan Morduch, Helped Inspire a New App to Address Income Volatility: NY Times Magazine

"Portfolios of the Poor," co-authored by Prof. Jonathan Morduch, Helped Inspire a New App to Address Income Volatility: NY Times Magazine

“Want A Steady Income? There’s an App for That,” a piece published Sunday, May 3, in The New York Times Magazine, focuses on a Silicon Valley app-in-development partly inspired by Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day, the groundbreaking book (Princeton University Press, 2009) written by NYU Wagner Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jonathan Morduch, NYU Wagner PhD Daryl Collins, and two others. The anticipated app is designed to help households manage what has been called America's “hidden inequality” – the profound stresses and disruptions income volatility can cause.

Professor Morduch’s research centers on microfinance, social investment, and the economics of poverty. He is the Executive Director and Founder of the Financial Access Initiative (FAI). His current “U.S. Financial Diaries” project examines how income volatility affects low- and moderate-income U.S. families.

"The Hidden Lives of America’s Poor and Middle Class”

"The Hidden Lives of America’s Poor and Middle Class”

Jonathan Morduch, Professor of Public Policy and Economics at NYU Wagner, has co-written an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, describing the U.S. Financial Diaries project he leads. The ongoing project deeply explores the financial lives of individual American families of lower and middle income levels. It illuminates, in part, the phenomenon of unsteady household income and expenses, and how this volatility can hamper the ability of working families to gain economic stability and upward mobility. At the same time, the project shows that financial products, programs and policies created to help working households are sometimes ill-suited to the day-to-day challenges these households actually face – whether they are living below or well above the poverty line.

Professor Morduch is Executive Director the Financial Access Initiative, a consortium of researchers focused on the most pressing issues of financial inclusion in the U.S. and in developing countries. He created the U.S. Financial Diaries project with colleagues Rachel Schneider – with whom he co-authored the article – and NYU Wagner graduate Daryl Collins (PhD, 2010).

ACA-Driven 11th Edition of "Jonas & Kovner's Health Care in America" Provides Readers with Guide for Changing Market

ACA-Driven 11th Edition of "Jonas & Kovner's Health Care in America" Provides Readers with Guide for Changing Market

With its recent affirmation by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," has become a permanent feature of the nation’s health care system. Now, the just-published 11th Edition of the highly acclaimed Jonas and Kovner's Health Care Delivery in the United States (Springer Publishing Co.) emerges as a vitally needed new resource and guide to the changing market.

Readable and accessible, the textbook on health care in the United States is the handiwork of the 11th edition editors Dr. James R. Knickman, President and CEO of the New York State Healthcare Foundation, and Anthony Kovner, Professor of Public Health Management at NYU Wagner. It has been revised specifically with graduate students in healthcare policy and management in mind, along with executives, managers, and staff all across a diverse and dynamic field.

The title’s official website, offers a comprehensive overview of the 11th Edition and its new features, along with video interviews with the editors, a Q&A with the chapter authors,  and ancillary materials, such as a sample syllabus and free downloadable chapter on the Affordable Care Act, and a four-chapter downloadable sampler. Additional resources for qualified instructors include a manual, PowerPoint slides, test bank, and image bank, as well as the option to request a desk or exam copy.

Contributors to the 11th Edition include such luminaries as Michael Gusmano, Carolyn Clancy, Joanne Spetz, Nirav Shah, Sherry Glied (Dean and Professor of Public Service, NYU Wagner), Michael Sparer, and Christy LeMak, among others. The book is available from Springer Publishing as well as from Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.


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