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 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.

Episode 11 - $66 Billion

September 07, 2017
Today’s data point is $66 billion – the amount New York’s school districts received in revenue during the 2015-2016 school year. The state's 674 districts collect an average of $23,635 per student - however, 15 districts surpass this amount, collecting $40,000 per student, while 11 districts fall short, collecting only $11,000 per student.

Broken down by revenue source there’s even more variability, with some districts getting less than 5 percent of revenues from the state, while others rely on state funding for more than 80 cents of every dollar they spend.

Dig deeper with CBC's related blog and interactive map at www.cbcny.org

Episode 10 - 30%

August 31, 2017
This week's data point is 30% - the share, based on dollar value, of city contracts to be awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses by fiscal year 2021, according to a goal set by Mayor Bill de Blasio in September 2016. New York City Deputy Mayor Richard Buery joins the podcast to discuss his efforts to meet that goal.