APS 425 Case #1: due October 20, 2015


The Excel spreadsheet A425_CASE115.XLSX contains data for twelve large counties in New York State, outside New York City. The variables include population (POP), temporary assistance cases (TA_CASES) handled by the Department of Social Services (DSS), monthly expenditures for TA (TA_EXP), the unemployment rate (UNEMPLOY), the poverty rate (POVERTY), the crime rate (CRIME), ), the median housing price (MED_HOUSE_PR), the median income (MED_INCOME), the percentage of the population that lives in a large city within the county (CITY_POP), and a cost-of-living index for the county (COST).

During the Doyle administration, there was a large political controversy in Monroe County recently because of a plan to reorganize the DSS (e.g., see the articles from the D&C at the end of this assignment). One of the motivations for this reorganization plan was that Monroe County was perceived to have an unusually large number of TA cases. Despite the controversy, the reorganization plan was adopted and the County believed that it did in fact save substantial sums of money as a result.

Your assignment is to use the data in the Excel spreadsheet (or the equivalent Eviews workfile, A425_CASE115.WF1) to evaluate the number of TA cases and expenditures in Monroe County. Your report should be addressed to the Monroe County Executive, and it should provide statistical analysis of Monroe County's TA data.


Raise Monroe taxes, says bipartisan group

By James Goodman
Democrat and Chronicle

(October 30, 2002) - A bipartisan group of six Monroe County legislators is urging that the county raise property taxes by 3.8 percent to help restore $10.6 million to County Executive Jack Doyle's proposed 2003 budget.

"Our view is that people are willing to pay for a modest tax increase if they know exactly what they are getting," said Legislator Ray Santirocco, R-Penfield, who worked on the proposal.

He called it a "starting point" to a restoration package and planned to reach out to other legislators. The plan could be introduced as an amendment or might be the basis for another compromise plan.

Doyle has proposed a $914.5 million budget for 2003 -- marking a $40.4 million reduction in spending from the county budget for this year. The cuts were proposed to help close a budget shortfall that could reach $65 million next year.

The County Legislature began hearings on Doyle's proposal this week -- and is expected to vote on the 2003 budget next month.

Santirocco said that the other legislators who worked on the plan are Republicans George Wiedemer, R-Penfield, and Peter McCann, R-Hilton, as well as Democrats Jose Cruz and Carla Palumbo of Rochester and Lynda Garner Goldstein of Brighton.

Most of these legislators were endorsed by the Independence Party or are part of an Independence caucus in the legislature.

"We call upon colleagues in the next couple weeks to examine our plan. We believe this plan adds things that are really across the board," Palumbo said.

Doyle, who has made stable taxes the cornerstone of his administration, has said that he would not raise taxes.

"The county executive has made a covenant with the taxpayer not to increase taxes," Doyle spokesman James Smith said.

The plan unveiled on Tuesday calls for putting $6 million of the $10.6 million restored into the county's depleted reserve funds. It would set aside $4.5 million to fill the budget gap if Doyle's plan to reorganize county social services fails to save the $30 million projected for next year.

The remaining $4.6 million would restore funds to a wide variety of programs -- ranging from $700,000 for foster care preventive services to $430,000 for the Monroe County Library System.

Most of the restorations would be between 50 and 80 percent of the amounts slated for cuts.

Wiedemer said that he hopes 10 to 12 legislators would support this proposal. "We met with a number of other legislators -- and feel they are open to our plan," he said.

Fifteen votes are needed to pass the budget and 18 to override a veto.
Republicans hold a 16-13 majority in the legislature. The Democratic caucus is working on its own alternative proposal.

"I think the tax increase component makes it an undesirable option. It's the wrong policy," said Majority Leader Bill Smith, R-Pittsford, who said that it is likely the Republican caucus will come up with amendments that shift proposed expenditures to help fund priorities.

James Smith said that whether Doyle would veto a tax increase is a hypothetical question, but he repeated the county executive's pledge not to raise taxes.

He also said that taxpayers could not afford to put money aside for reserves, and he criticized the alternative plan for reducing funds for running the Monroe County Jail.

The legislators' plan calls for reducing the overtime account in the Jail Bureau by $200,000 -- to help free funds for restorations.

The proposed tax increase, Santirocco said, would raise almost $8.9 million in revenue.

The plan also calls for:

> A 30-cents-a-month surcharge on cell phones in the county.
> Diverting $400,000 in hotel-motel revenue from the Greater Rochester Sports Authority.
> Making $75,000 available for restorations by reducing the legislature's budget.

Restoration plan

The proposal unveiled by a bipartisan group of six legislators calls for the following restorations:
> $182,000 for arts and cultural institutions, including $100,000 for the Rochester Museum & Science Center.
> $445,000 for the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Soil and Water District.
> $430,000 for the Monroe County Library System.
> $250,000 to support downtown police patrols.
> $200,000 to the Office of Probation-Community Corrections.
> $50,000 to the Legal Aid Society.
> $500,000 for county road maintenance.
> $125,000 for GottaQuit.com, the county's anti-smoking effort.
> $220,000 for Life Line.
> $700,000 for foster care preventive services.
> $60,000 for Baby Love.
> $570,000 for mental health services.
> $400,000 for public health services.
> $500,000 for homeless shelter reimbursement.


Mayor: County budget cuts would be 'disastrous'

By James Goodman
Democrat and Chronicle

(October 31, 2002) - Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. is calling for Monroe County legislators to support a tax increase in the 3-5 percent range to head off some of the proposed budget cuts by County Executive Jack Doyle.
Johnson said that Doyle's proposed cuts would have "disastrous implication for the quality of life throughout the community," in a letter released Thursday, to the Democratic and Republican leaders of the County Legislature.

"The public is intelligent. And if you explain to them why you have to raise taxes, if they understand the connection between revenue and services, they will be understanding and obliging," said Johnson at a news conference Thursday morning.

Johnson also released a 15-page report, prepared by his staff, on the impact of Doyle's proposed budget cuts. The report concludes that Doyle places the community "on the edge of a dangerous cycle."

The plan that Johnson backed was proposed earlier this week by a bipartisan group of six Monroe County legislators. It urges the county to raise property taxes by 3.8 percent to help restore $10.6 million to the proposed budget.

Faced with a budget shortfall that could reach as much as $65 million next year, Doyle has proposed a $914.5 million budget for 2003 -- marking a $40.4 million reduction in spending from the county budget for this year.

Doyle has made stable property taxes a cornerstone of his administration and has repeatedly said that he would not support an increase in property taxes.

The 29-member legislature is slated to vote on Doyle's proposed budget on Nov. 12.


Social workers' union rips welfare cutbacks

By Donna Jackel
Democrat and Chronicle

(November 1, 2002) - The Monroe County Federation of Social Workers claimed that $30 million in savings laid out in the proposed 2003 county budget could only be achieved by denying welfare benefits to those who qualify.

John Vasko, federation chapter president, called proposed cuts to social services "a direct attack on children" during a news conference Thursday at union headquarters on Flanders Street.

The proposals stem from a report by Altreya Consulting of Pittsford, which predicted millions could be saved next year by revamping how Monroe County delivers its social services.

Altreya's report is the basis for the county proposal to combine the Department of Social Services, the Office of Mental Health, the Office for the Aging and the Youth Bureau with part of the county Health Department.

On the basis of the report, the county hopes to reduce Medicaid and temporary assistance cases by more than 5,000. The reorganization, which the report estimated would save the county $30 million in 2003, is supposed to be phased in, beginning in January.

The findings of the Altreya report -- which the county hired the company to do in April -- have become a key part of County Executive Jack Doyle's plan to close a possible $65 million budget shortfall for 2003.

But there is no evidence that thousands of public assistance clients are receiving services for which they do not qualify, Vasko said.

He challenged Altreya to provide documentation to prove otherwise.

Vasko also asserted that if the Department of Social Services was supplying benefits to those who didn't qualify, the county would have been fined by state auditors.

Vasko blamed the county's current budget gap, in part, on the fact that there have been no increases in county property taxes for the past 11 years.

James Smith, a county spokesman, said he could not speak to the specifics of the report. Peter Palermo III, the managing director of Altreya, could not be reached for comment.

"Our expectation is that when we're done with this reorganization, county employees will be empowered, clients will be better served and county taxpayers will realize a savings," Smith said.

"That's what we're working toward."

The Federation of Social Workers hired the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research group based in the Albany area, to review the Altreya report.

Economist Trudi Renwick found that Altreya failed to demonstrate that the county DSS caseload was "too large" and "therefore did not show that significant reductions in the caseload will result from changing the public assistance system in the county."


Johnson backs county tax hike

Mayor calls for 3% to 5% rise to offset proposed Doyle cuts

By James Goodman
Democrat and Chronicle

(November 1, 2002) - Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. is calling for Monroe County legislators to support a tax increase in the 3 percent to 5 percent range to head off some of the proposed budget cuts by County Executive Jack Doyle.

Johnson said that Doyle's proposed cuts would have "disastrous implications for the quality of life throughout the community," in a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders of the County Legislature that was released Thursday.

"The public is intelligent. And if you explain to them why you have to raise taxes, if they understand the connection between revenue and services, they will be understanding and obliging," said Johnson at a news conference Thursday morning.

Johnson said that a plan -- calling for a 3.8 percent tax increase -- that was released this week by a bipartisan group of six county legislators was on the "right track."

Faced with a budget shortfall that could reach as much as $65 million next year, Doyle has proposed a $914.5 million budget for 2003 -- marking a $40.4 million reduction in spending from the county budget for this year.

Doyle has made stable property taxes a cornerstone of his administration and has repeatedly said that he would not support an increase in property taxes.

"The mayor doesn't seem to understand that you cannot merely fall back on the easy solution, which is to raise taxes every time you face a fiscal challenge," said Doyle spokesman James Smith, who added that residents are struggling to make ends meet and that an increase in tax would also create a burden for businesses.

The 29-member legislature is slated to vote on Doyle's proposed budget on Nov. 12.

Johnson also released a 15-page report, prepared by his staff, on the impact of Doyle's proposed budget cuts. The report concludes that Doyle places the community "on the edge of a dangerous cycle."

And the report says that the wide range of cuts in the Doyle budget would result in a reduction in services to "our most vulnerable citizens."

The report also says that, since the county's tax base has increased by more than $7 billion during the past 11 years, achieving property tax stability is "not that significant an accomplishment."

Smith said the report's assertion is incorrect.

"Keeping taxes stable for 11 years has not been an easy accomplishment because we have not taken advantage of the increase in the growth of assessed value," Smith said.

Doyle has placed a priority on maintaining a stable tax levy -- the amount of dollars collected from taxpayers -- and that has resulted in tax rates actually decreasing with the increase in the tax base.

The group that Johnson is encouraging legislators to work with in seeking a tax increase comprises three Democratic and three Republican legislators.

The group's plan urges the county to raise property taxes by 3.8 percent to help restore $10.6 million to the proposed budget.

It would put $6 million of the $10.6 million restored into the county's depleted reserve funds and would earmark $4.6 million to restore funds to a wide variety of programs.

Majority Leader Bill Smith, R-Pittsford, said that he remains opposed to a property tax increase -- but he would like to see some shifting of funds in the proposed budget.

Minority Leader Stephanie Aldersley, D-Irondequoit, said that the 13-member Democratic caucus would release its own proposal next week.

"My caucus regards this as an Independence Party proposal. That means we'll be making our own proposal," Aldersley said.

Five of the six proposing the tax increase were either endorsed by the Independence Party or have been active in the Independence caucus.

Aldersley said that none of the six legislators has discussed the proposal with her. "They are just grandstanding," she said.

One of the six legislators, Lynda Garner Goldstein, D-Brighton, said the three Democrats in the bipartisan plan also fed their ideas to Legislator Kevin Murray, D-Rochester, who is helping to coordinate the Democratic plan.

"I cannot say emphatically enough this is not grandstanding," she said.


Cuts in children's services decried

By James Goodman
Democrat and Chronicle

(November 2, 2002) - A news conference organized by Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature was held on Friday to focus attention on the possible effects that County Executive Jack Doyle's proposed budget would have on children.

About 15 speakers -- including concerned parents -- were featured.

Terri Abrams, president of the Flower City Down Syndrome Network, said early intervention programs have proved effective and that cuts could cost taxpayers more in the long run.

Doyle's proposed budget calls for a $2 million reduction in county spending for special children services, which include early intervention and education for children with disabilities.

These cuts are part of Doyle's plan to close what could be as much as a $65 million shortfall next year.

Kelly Reed, president of the local chapter of the Society for the Protection and Care of Children, urged that there be a rethinking of proposed cuts in preventive services.

"There seems no long-range vision," Reed said.

Doyle spokesman James Smith said that the county will continue to provide services to "protect the most vulnerable," and he urged community groups to become more efficient and avoid any duplication of services.

A handful of speakers told of the value of 4-H activities sponsored by the local Cornell Cooperative Extension, which would lose all of its county funding.

"We made a difference," Jamie Romeo, 17, of Irondequoit said about the successes of Earth Girls, one of the 4-H groups in the county.

Minority Leader Stephanie Aldersley, D-Irondequoit, expects the Democratic caucus to release its plan next week with different priorities.

The Monroe County Legislature is scheduled to vote on Doyle's proposed budget Nov. 12.


A full-text version of this case assignment is available in Acrobat's portable data format (.pdf). The file is about 28K and can only be viewed (and printed) using a copy of Acrobat Reader.

If you want the current version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader for other platforms, visit Adobe's web page by clicking the image below.

Click here to download this case assignment.


Click here to view a Powerpoint presentation showing a possible answer to this case.

An example of a good case answer is available in Acrobat's portable data format (.pdf). The file is about 15K and can only be viewed (and printed) using a copy of Acrobat Reader.

Click here to download this answer.

Click here to download the Eviews workfile with the answer.


Click here to see the histogram showing the grades for this case.

A histogram showing the grades for this case is available in Acrobat's portable data format (.pdf). The file is about 4K and can only be viewed (and printed) using a copy of Acrobat Reader.

Click here to download this graph.


Return to APS 425 Home Page


© Copyright 2001-2015, G. William Schwert

Last Updated on 12/8/2015