John F. Cape

Courtney Burke

Senior Fellow John F. Cape is a national expert on state budgets and public policy, with over 30 years’ experience in the public sector. He is managing director at the PFM Group, where he specializes in state- and local-government finances and policy, and co-leads the Strategic Consulting practice for state governments.

He previously served as New York’s budget director, acting as the state’s chief financial officer and the principal fiscal advisor to the governor, and heading the Division of the Budget, whose 350 staff members oversaw a $113 billion operating budget and $50 billion debt portfolio.

Cape began his career with New York State in 1973, working as municipal management consultant and federal program manager before joining the Division of the Budget in 1980. During the following 26 years, he had the opportunity to oversee funding for virtually every state program area. He headed the division’s Federal Relations office, working with organizations like the National Governors Association to advocate for changes and enhancements to federal programs, including Medicaid, welfare and transportation programs. After being named assistant director in 1997, he went on to oversee the state’s economic and revenue forecasting, tax policy, capital planning and finance, and cash management. He also directed the state’s debt policy, including management and issuance of all state-related debt, federal securities disclosure and rating agency relations. The author of major budget reform and debt reform statutes, in 2000 he was promoted to deputy director, overseeing statewide budget planning, development, negotiation and execution, then advancing to first deputy in 2002 and director in 2004. He also served as chairman of the State’s Public Authority Control Board and director of the Local Government Assistance Corporation.

A nationally known speaker on state fiscal and policy issues and a recognized advocate for fiscal integrity and transparency, Cape is also a fellow of the State Academy of Public Administrators, and has served on the Executive Board of the National Association of State Budget Officers. He is the 2006 recipient of the Center for Technology in Government’s Rudolph W. Giuliani Leadership Award and recipient of the American Society for Public Administration’s Charles Evans Hughes Award.

Cape received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York Empire State College and pursued graduate study at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the University at Albany.


Contact Information

Phone: (518) 443-5243
Fax: (518) 443-5823

The Rockefeller Institute of Government
411 State Street
Albany, New York 12203


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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York, conducts fiscal and programmatic research on American state and local governments. It works closely with federal, state, and local government agencies nationally and in New York, and draws on the State University’s rich intellectual resources and on networks of public policy academic experts throughout the country.