The Latest Public Finance Spreadsheets Page Has Been Updated

The page now includes all the key spreadsheets from the FY 2012 Census of Governments and other sources that I have compiled over the past year.  It now contains a full, detailed overview of state and local government revenues, expenditures, debt, employment and payroll, all adjusted to be comparable across the country, for New York City, every other part of New York State and New Jersey, and comparable states and areas across the country.  The data is not only for FY 2012, but also for FY 2002, FY 1992, and other past years.  I made a huge effort to make this information available in an easily digestible form, with fair comparisons from place to place.  I ask only that the readers look at and think about the information.

In particular, I ask that members of the media, or what is left of it, reporting on state and local government in metro New York look through the materials, download the spreadsheets, and use the data for background and story ideas. I’m sick and tired of the “facts” in public policy debates being generated almost exclusive by self interest groups and repeated with little or no recourse to more objective sources. These interest groups are always demanding more for themselves now, at the expense of unspecified others in the future, and generally getting their way. Without being questioned. It is the job of the media to ask those questions. I’ve provided the information needed to frame them. The people of this city, state and country need more than flack-driven press release journalism.

How can we have a debate about the need for more police officers in New York City without any questions about, and discussion of, how the current level of police staffing in the city compares with the U.S. average and other cities?

How can we have a discussion about the level of school spending without mention of how much is spent in NYC and other parts of the state compared with the U.S. average and nearby states, and what specifically it is spent on?

How can we have a debate on taxes without background information on how high taxes are here compared with elsewhere, or elsewhere compared with the U.S. average, and how this has changed over time?

How can people understand why the MTA is going broke despite record ridership, stock prices, and real estate transaction revenues with no discussion of how the deals and non-decisions of the past have affected the present and future?

Etc, etc, etc.

I have made all this information and more available in a usable form. It is the job of journalists to compress it further into a form that the general public is willing to pay attention to and able to understand. All the tables, charts, quotes from the text can be taken and used, gratis.