Sunday, February 18, 2007

Politics and government

Under its present constitution (adopted in 1894), New York is governed by three branches of government: the executive branch, consisting of the Governor of New York and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch, consisting of the the bicameral New York State Legislature; and the judicial branch, consisting of the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, and lower courts. The state has two U.S. senators, 31 members in the United States House of Representatives, and 33 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a drop from its 41 votes in 1970).

New York's capital is Albany. The state's subordinate political units are its 62 counties. Other officially incorporated governmental units are towns, cities, and villages. New York has more than 4,200 local governments that take one of these forms. About 52% of all revenue raised by local governments in the state is raised solely by the government of New York City, which is the largest municipal government in the United States.[9]

The state has a strong imbalance of payments with the federal government. New York state receives 82 cents in services for every $1 it sends in taxes to the federal government in Washington.[10] The state ranks near the bottom, in 42nd place, in federal spending per tax dollar.

Many of New York's public services are carried out by public benefit corporations, frequently called authorities or development corporations. Well known public benefit corporations in New York include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City's public transportation system, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state transportation infrastructure agency.

New York's legal system is explicitly based on English common Law. Capital punishment has been unconstitutional in New York since 2004.

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