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August 23, 2002

Council researcher authors comprehensive new book on state government

Robert Ward, director of research for The Public Policy Institute, has written a comprehensive new book detailing the structure and operations of New York State government. The Institute is The Business Council's research affiliate.

Ward's New York State Government: What It Does, How It Works was published this month by the prestigious Rockefeller Institute of Government, an affiliate of the State University of New York.

The Rockefeller Institute described the 474-page book as "the first comprehensive look at government in the Empire State in two decades."

"We expect this book to be the definitive text on New York State government for many years," said Richard P. Nathan, director of the Rockefeller Institute.

The book outlines the powers and duties of the governor, the Legislature, state courts, and state agencies. It also analyzes the development and status of state policies in such areas as health care, education, transportation, economic development, labor, family assistance, public protection, and the environment.

The book also includes

. A detailed chapter showing how citizen activists can affect state policy.

. An overview of services provided by state government.

. Information on the history and importance of the state Constitution, which gives New Yorkers rights beyond those spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.

. An explanation of why New York's governor may rank second in executive power only to the U.S. president.

. Analysis of how New York State governors have used their unusually strong powers to achieve policy goals first strongly opposed by the state Legislature.

. The strong influence in New York of appointed officials in state government and of administrative law written and implemented by state regulatory agencies.

. An analysis of the role of the news media in informing the public about policies and actions of state government.

. Information on how New York State enacts a budget, and how off-budget spending adds tens of billions of dollars to annual total spending by state government.

. Information on how state government affects health care, public education, and programs for the needy.

. Information on how state government shapes policy and affects New York State's historically high levels of spending relative to other states.

. A description of New York State's "coupon strategy" for encouraging economic development.

New York State Government: What It Does, How It Works is distributed by SUNY Press (1-800/666-2211). It is also available from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and it will be offered at bookstores statewide.