What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

April 18, 2005

Council's director of research, a recognized authority on tax policy and state government, is named to commission on tax reform

Robert Ward, director of research for The Business Council and the Public Policy Institute and a recognized authority on New York state government and its tax policies, has been selected by Governor George Pataki to join a seven-member commission on tax reform and simplification.

The commissions's charge is to examine and propose ways to make the New York State tax code “fairer, simpler, and friendlier,” the Governor said in a press release.

The release described Ward as a “noted author and observer of New York's economy,” and noted his extensive writing on the state’s political economy and Medicaid spending.

“He's the author of the leading text on New York State government for students and citizens, New York State Government: What It Does, How It Works, and comments regularly on economic and public policy issues on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio,” the Governor's release said.

Ward will sit on the commission charged with examining New York's tax rates, the number of taxes and overall complexity—"all with an eye toward reform and simplification,” the Governor's release said. The Commission’s recommendations are expected by the fall.

The commission will be chaired by Lawrence Kudlow, a former economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan. Kudlow is the chief economist for cable news CNBC and an economics editor at National Review magazine.

Ward is one of the most frequently quoted observers of New York State government and its
impact on the state's economy.

He was co-author of The Comeback State, the Institute’s landmark 1994 book outlining a prescription for economic recovery for New York. He has also written many Public Policy Institute reports on New York's political economy, including, most recently, the Medicaid Watch'05 series on New York State's highest-in-the-nation Medicaid spending. He also wrote the Institute's 1999 book on the effects state mandates on New York's local tax burden, The $163 Light Bulb.

Ward joined the Council in 1989 after working as a researcher and writer for the chairman of the state Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee. Before that, he was a reporter and editor with the former Knickerbocker News in Albany.

Kudlow and Ward are joined by five other experts with experience in both the public and private sectors: