A Word About Methodology

Several organizations rate the New York State Legislature. NYCADA‘s ratings embrace a range of progressive issues rather than being narrowly focused. We prepare and update sporadically a Legislative Agenda to alert members of both houses of our specific views on these issues.

ADA understands and appreciates the power of the “three men in a room” – the Assembly Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader and the Governor – and the central role they play in determining which bills pass. There has been a modicum of transparency recently as the Legislature has taken small steps toward reform. However, the Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Bruno continue to exert unlimited power in executing the Legislative agenda.  

Our ratings are determined largely by which bills do not become laws! We assess the more than 2000+ publicly recorded votes, identify those which reflect the liberal values in which we believe, select specific issues where there is a minority of at least 10 votes, and, thereby, compile a liberal quotient of the Legislature’s members.

We are not interested in unanimous or near unanimous votes.  We are interested in those votes which reveal a principled difference – where members vote their beliefs and respond to the interests and needs of their constituents. That being said, often the votes tell us very little. The “fast” roll call ended in 2004. Up until then, anyone who did not vote “no” was recorded as voting “yes.” However, we count every absence as a vote against the ADA position.  Despite small gains, the Legislature performance continues to be dysfunctional, ranking among the worst in the nation.

Holding the Authorities Accountable

Considered New York State’s shadow government, the Authorities represent a powerful segment of NYS government. They control most of the state debt, manage most state construction and operate agencies including the Port Authority, the MTA, the NYS Thruway and utilities
Created more than 80 years ago to facilitate efficient government operation, Authorities  remain accountable to no one and state debt – now at $50 billion - continues to grow.

Authorities can and sometimes actually do good work! They manage major capital assets, borrow for private organizations – hospitals and universities, and confront large public transit problems at airports among other tasks.

Since then, proposed reforms include establishing an independent budget office and Inspector General to monitor the Authorities’ spending, and giving the Attorney General the power to review their contracts.  Requiring directors to take oaths of office to insure fiduciary responsibility has also been suggested.

Only an informed citizenry demanding change will achieve that goal.  It’s up to us!

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Working Families Win Reports Meetings Newsletters Speaking Out Endorsements Legislative RatingsTestimony