(December 5, 2006)
The Council's Robert Ward revises and expands his definitive textbook on New York State government
Robert Ward author of the authoritative text book on New York State government, has written a revised and updated edition that has been published by the Rockefeller Institute Press.
The book, New York State Government, has become the leading text on New York’s expansive and complicated government since it was first published in 2002.
The updated edition "comes at a propitious time," Richard P. Nathan, co-director of the Rockefeller Institute, writes in a foreword to the new book. "Eliot Spitzer's election as New York's 54th governor has produced high expectations about major policy and governmental reforms."
The second edition updates material throughout and adds five major chapters.New material in the book includes:
- An examination of the debate over changes to the state's budget
process, the state Legislature's internal rules, the influence
of money in Albany, and legislative redistricting, as well as
potential changes to the state Constitution.
- The emergence of the Upstate economy as a political and governmental
issue, with focus on the stark decline of most cities in the region.
- A review of the state's constitutional limits on borrowing,
Albany's use of public authorities to circumvent those limits,
and recent calls for new reforms of the state’s debt practices.
The chapter was written by Brian Stenson, deputy director of the
Rockefeller Institute and a former high-ranking state budget official.
- An examination of the complex array of local governments in
the state, along with “private neighborhoods” such
as condominiums, cooperatives, and residential communities.
- An explanation of how state government maintains control over most policies and activities of counties, municipalities, and school districts, despite clear provisions for home rule in the state Constitution.
The book describes in detail the structure and operations of New York State government. 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 chapter on how 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
- An explanation of why New York's governor may rank second in
executive power only to the U.S. president.
- An analysis of how New York State governors have used their
unusually strong powers to achieve policy goals first strongly
opposed by the state Legislature.
- A description of 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.
- Details 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 is distributed by SUNY Press (1-800/666-2211). Copies can be ordered from www.rockinst.org. It is also available from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and it will be offered at bookstores statewide.