What's the [DATA] Point?

What's the [DATA] Point? is a podcast by Citizens Budget Commission and Gotham Gazette on New York State and City policies.


It's hosted by Ben Max, Executive Editor of Gotham Gazette, and Maria Doulis, Vice President of the Citizens Budget Commission, and produced by Kevin Medina and William J. Rice.


Stream below or download on your phone via iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.



Episode 19 - $67 Billion

November 09, 2017
$67 billion is the amount of state and local taxes New York State residents deduct from their federal tax returns each year. Known as SALT, this deduction is the topic of intense debate in Washington. Congressional leadership proposes to eliminate or cap SALT in order to offset the cost of corporate and other tax cuts.

Special guest Jay Kriegel, Senior Advisor at Related Companies, is a New York communications and strategic advisor who has been involved in a number of major New York political and policy initiatives. In 1986, Jay led a national coalition that thwarted an attempt to eliminate the SALT deduction, and today he has taken a leadership role in the coalition to protect it.

Episode 18 - 348 and 74

November 02, 2017
The data points are 348 and 74.

348 is the number of Local Development Corporations and Industrial Development Agencies in NYS. These corporations made $16.2 billion in economic development investments from 2011 through 2015, yet only 5 of the state's 62 counties have had job growth higher than the national average. For this half of the podcast WTDP is joined by CBC Research Associate, Riley Edwards, author of the recent report: "Opaque and Duplicative - Local Economic Development in New York State."

74 is the number of Business Improvement Districts in NYC. CBC's report "BIDS - Organization, Oversight, and Transparency" describes the history and nature of these organizations, what services they provide, and whether property owners are getting their money's worth. WTDP is joined by CBC's Director of Research, Tim Sullivan, to explain.

Episode 17 - $95 billion

October 25, 2017
This episode's datapoint is $95 billion, the current value of all of the future retiree benefits, except pensions, already earned by current retirees and employees of NYC. This amount, referred to as OPEB, or 'Other Post-Employment Benefits,' is primarily the cost of health insurance for NYC employees, their spouses and families. Special guest Dr. Thad Calabrese of NYU, and author of CBC's latest report on this subject, "The Price of Promises Made," gives an in-depth look at the City's OPEB obligations, compare them to those of other cities around the country, and explains why the City should establish more appropriate benefits and funding arrangements.

Episode 16 - 1936

October 19, 2017
This episode's datapoint is 1936, as in the last time that voters in New York chose to call a convention to amend the state constitution. It is a question that is mandated to be on the ballot every 20 years, and after it was voted down by voters in 1957, 1977, and 1997, we are again at the 20-year mark here in 2017. Today's special guest is Dr. Gerald Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz, an expert on the constitution and the convention process.

Episode 15 - 60+ years

October 12, 2017
This episode's datapoint is "60+," as in the combined years of professional experience of special guests Renee Boicourt and Kent Hiteshew in matters of public finance. Listen to a live recording from CBC's recent event, "Fiscal Crises," where our expert guests discussed lessons learned from the bankruptcy of Detroit and the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico.

Episode 14 - 4 years

October 05, 2017
This episode's datapoint is "4,” as in Bill de Blasio's four years as mayor. Greg David of Crain's New York Business and CUNY Journalism School joined the podcast to discuss his recent investigative piece in Crain's about Mayor de Blasio's performance during his first term.

Episode 13 - 95

September 28, 2017
95 is the number of days remaining in the second term of City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Julissa is the first woman, first person of color, and the youngest person to chair the Council’s powerful Committee on Finance, which oversees the adoption of the City’s $85 billion annual budget.

This past June Julissa announced that she would not seek another term in the Council-- she discussed with us her time in the City Council, especially as finance chair, and more.

Episode 12 -77,651

September 21, 2017
77,651 is the number of affordable housing units financed thus far in Mayor de Blasio’s 10-year plan to construct or preserve a total of 200,000 affordable units over 10 years. Since the Mayor took office, NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) has overseen the commitment of $2.8 billion for affordable housing, most of it through loans and development programs.

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer joins the podcast to discuss the progress of and challenges to the ambitious Housing New York plan.