When Cities Go Broke, They Call Him

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

From saving NYC from bankruptcy in the 1970's to his latest assignment in Detroit, Richard Ravitch, former New York State Lt. Governor, member of the State Budget Crisis Task Force and author of So Much to Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics, and Confronting Fiscal Crises, shares what he knows about the causes of and cures for state and local fiscal crises.

Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO
Richard Ravitch with a portion of the MTA train yards in the background, after being appointed Chairman
Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO
Richard Ravitch confers with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO
Richard Ravitch with Mayor Lindsay and former mayor Robert Wagner at the opening of the Waterside development at the East River and 23rd street.
Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO
Ravitch confers with Mayor Ed Koch
Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO
Ravitch with Mayor Abe Beame, an accountant viewed as a budget expert and fiscal watchdog, who would preside over the city's financial collapse
Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO.
Ravitch with Governor Hugh Carey after Chase, Citibank, and Morgan said they would no longer underwrite the notes and bonds of New York city, pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy
Courtesy of Richard Ravitch and SO MUCH TO DO
Ravitch after being named Lieutenant Governor of New York in 2010, where he first became interested in the balancing of state budgets


Richard Ravitch

Comments [12]

Matt from Prospect Heights

I recognize that Mr. Ravitch was the owner's representative during the 1994 negotiations, and really respect his perspective, but find it surprising that he attributes the player's opposition primarily to the revenue sharing part of the deal as opposed to the salary cap. Is there some support for the idea that the players would have opposed revenue sharing absent it being tied to an explicit or implicit salary cap?

Apr. 29 2014 11:49 AM

Any serious attempt at restoring NYC's fiscal state must include a massive taxation of all high-frequency financial trades on Wall St.

Also, has anyone noticed the 50% increases these past few years on all bridge tolls, and the roving packs of parking attendant ticket-writers with quotas to fill, hemorrhaging money out of the middle class, while the wealthy elite hardly pay into the system?

The middle and working class is beaten to a pulp by fiscal policy that puts the onus on their shoulders. The 1% have all their interests protected by our elected representatives.

Something's gotta give.

Apr. 29 2014 11:48 AM
Richard from Levittown

Those of us who wound up unemployed cannot forget this period. I was a teacher at Queens College when the bad news of the City on the verge of "Bankruptcy." I lost my position (excessed) after 7 years. The School of Education was hit hard at CUNY. We were given almost no notice (summer) and in education that could be devastating for teacher employment. Fortunately I lucked out found a teaching position at a private college and stayed there for 30 years. But I do think back to many of those who never really got back on their feet, and left the profession.
I hope NYC never has such a devastation again.

Apr. 29 2014 11:47 AM
John A

Quite simply put, this country Has to have a political renaissance or it is cooked-dead! Send in the Chinese....

Apr. 29 2014 11:45 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I remember Reagan calling it a "user fee," not a "user charge."

Apr. 29 2014 11:34 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Reagan raised taxes more times than he cut them.

Apr. 29 2014 11:32 AM

Talk about public/state retirees from high pay/high benefit/high tax states moving to low public sector pay/benefit/tax states with their retiree benefit packages. Do all those good benefits from high tax states get spent in low tax states? So many of my friends with NY state benefits have moved to very low tax states to retire but they would never have worked there because the pay and benefits are so low.

Apr. 29 2014 11:27 AM
Bob from Westchester

In the spirit of full disclosure, please ask Mr. Ravitch if he receives any pension or other benefits from his various public sector jobs, and if so have any of them been cut back.

Apr. 29 2014 11:23 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Maybe Brian can ask Mr. Ravitch about the Pataki era MTA boon doogle called East Side Access that was originally $7 billion, but is now up to $11 billion, just to get some LIRR riders a few blocks across town. How much of that money is borrowed? Imagine the maintenance and system upgrades that could be made with a fraction of that money!

Apr. 29 2014 11:20 AM
antonio from baySide

I really love the idea MICHAEL KIMMELMAN floated regarding the streetcar from Astoria to Redhook...
Does Mr. Ravitch think the City Council could ever create a fund for city transit? I mean Bloomberg got money for the 7 without the MTA...

Apr. 29 2014 11:17 AM
paulb from Brooklyn

I'd like to hear Mr. Ravitch's take on the use of public money (loans, bonds, tax breaks) to finance stadiums and arenas.

Apr. 29 2014 10:04 AM

What can be done to mandate the PA to get out of real estate, restore the dollars to transportation needs. The public deserves service not office space with private realtors taking all the benfits.

Secondly, wasn't the attack on 9/11 an attack on THE UNITED STATES? Why then are the citizens of New York City and New York State paying for the museum and the new tower replacement? Of course, the 99% are really the ones paying through the nose when the U.S. of A. should be recognizing its responsibilities to us.

Apr. 29 2014 08:14 AM

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