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About this project

February 19, 2014


The Empire Center will be issuing a series of policy papers, Empire Ideas, focused on topics of concern to counties, municipalities and school districts across the state. In conjunction with this project, the Center also will be sponsoring forums in different regions of the state to publicly air the policy priorities identified in the papers. Our goal in this project is to help elected officials, local taxpayer groups, community associations and concerned taxpayers explore ways of improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of local government.

Summary of papers:

Shrinking the retiree health care iceberg (October 2012) shows how local governments' massive unfunded liabilities for retiree health insurance can be restructured and shifted off the backs of local taxpayers, while still preserving the benefit for current and future retirees. empire ideas




Taking a longer view on our local budgets (January 2013) explains why local governments and school districts should adopt long-term financial planning as a core element of their budgeting practices, much like the State and New York City have for done for years. empire ideas




Shining a spotlight on local spending details (May 2013) focuses on why local governments and school districts should impement proactive disclosure of tentative contract information, and other transparency measures, as a means to reduce the cost and impact on local budgets.




The streamlining search: options for NY localities (February 2014) reviews the basic options available to New York's local governments; documents the implementation path for each; and offers "best practice" recommendations for managing change effectively.