10/12/19. Economics Professor Devra Golbe currently serves on the board of the New York Independent Budget Office. We asked her to tell us about her experience on the Board.
Q: What does the New York Independent Budget Office (IBO) do?
A: The IBO’s role is to provide nonpartisan information about the city’s budget and tax revenues. The IBO publishes annual budget reports, as well as reports on policy topics of interest, such as the impact of homeless shelters on real estate prices and an analysis of the mayor’s proposal for admissions to the specialized high schools.
Q: How and when did you become a board member?
A: I became an advisory board member in 2015. The City Charter is very specific. For example, it requires that one board member must be a current or former officer, or an economic advisor to a labor union. One member must be a current or former dean of a graduate school of business administration in NYC (currently filled by Fenwick Huss, the Dean at the Zicklin School at Baruch). I fill the seat requirement for a current or former chair of an economics department in NYC with a graduate program. The Board meets three times per year.
Q: What has been your most challenging task as a board member?
A: The most important task that board members face is to screen and recommend candidates to serve as IBO director. Ronnie Lowenstein has served in this position with great skill since 2000, and she agreed to serve again in 2018.
Q: What have you learned from your experience on the Board?
A: I have learned quite a bit about the NYC budget. The IBO reports on the NYC school system are always interesting and eye-openers.