November 12, 2013 | Academics
On November 12, Richard Ravitch, former Lieutenant Governor of New York, served as the guest speaker for the Politics of New York City class taught by Dr. Larian Angelo, Guttman Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Marc V. Shaw, CUNY Vice Chancellor of Budget, Finance and Fiscal Policy. Mr. Ravitch gave students a detailed account of the fiscal crisis that befell New York City in the mid-1970s. This situation was a result of increasing government services and activities, and decreasing revenues for which to pay for them. He explained the steps and reforms the city undertook to extricate itself from the crisis to strengthen its financial standing, including the creation of the Emergency Financial Control Board and establishing a new law requiring the city to balance its budget and be transparent about the budgeting process.
Mr. Ravitch believes New York’s story should be instructive to other municipalities in terms of how to overcome fiscal problems. However, he noted that cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and several others in California may not have learned this lesson as they are currently facing bankruptcies due to fiscal mismanagement. The former Lt. Governor concluded his talk by encouraging students to consider careers in public service, emphasizing that “We need young people to enter politics to make the changes we so desparetely need. I hope young people will get into the mix and run for office.”
Richard Ravitch is a politician and businessman who served as the 75th Lieutenant Governor of New York from 2009 to 2010. He was appointed to the position in July 2009 by New York Governor David Paterson. A native of New York City, he earned a law degree from Yale Law School. He has worked in his family’s real estate development business, a number of government and government-appointed positions, including with the New York State Urban Development Corporation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and in private industry, including tenures as chairman of the Bowery Savings Bank and as the chief owner representative in labor negotiations for Major League Baseball.