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Study finds New York analyzing tax dollar usage well

401(K) 2012

New York has been labeled a "leading" state for effective use of cost-benefit analysis in a new study from the Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative. That means New York is doing a better job of making sure tax dollars are spent well, than other states.

Cost benefit analysis is determining the return on an investment. In this case  it's determining how much the taxpayer benefits from each public dollar spent.

Of the states looked at in the report, New York and 10 other states were placed in the "leading" category.

"This is an approach that appeals across the political spectrum," initiative director Gary VanLandingham said. "Because whether a conservative may argue that states shouldn’t spend a lot of money and a progressive may argue a state should spend more, I think at the end of the day everyone wants states to be spending money on things that work."

He gives the example when Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an analysis of the New York’s Medicaid funding. The resulting changes made in the legislature saved the state more than two billion dollars.

New York state produces on average of three of these type of reports every year.

"Regardless of whether a study is done by the executive branch, legislative branch, or a university or consulting firm, there needs to be a lot of transparency in the process, the study needs to be timely," VanLandingham said. "And the results need to be effectively communicated."

Here's a map of how the states scored.