Media Coverage

Dorm Authority: NY’s deepest pork barrel | Albany Times Union

The only reason many of these broader details are known is because the Empire Center filed an open records request in June seeking information as to where all the money has gone. The think tank recently posted on its website,, a database of the nearly 6,000 projects. [Read_more]

EDITORIAL: Extending the light | Watertown Daily Times

To start the holiday season off on a cheery note, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday presented his constituents with an early gift. [Read_more]

A tax fight looms in the Empire State | Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

E.J. McMahon, research director for the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, said Cuomo will enter the year facing his steepest financial hill since 2011, when he inherited a $9.3 billion shortfall from his predecessor, Gov. David Paterson. [Read_more]

Many who work in Cuomo’s office aren’t actually paid by it | Albany Times Union

Observers of state government say the practice of loading up the governor's staff with people not officially on its payroll has been ongoing for decades. E.J. McMahon, research director of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, said it has quietly allowed governors to expand their staffs while escaping criticism for increasing their budgets. Still, the full extent has not been previously known.

"It's an accountability and transparency issue," McMahon said. "It's done so that the Executive Chamber staff doesn't look so big. That's the only conceivable reason they'd do it." [Read_more]

$15 minimum wage to cost taxpayers an extra $838M for Medicaid | New York Post

Bill Hammond, a writer specializing in Medicaid issues for the Empire Center’s NY Torch blog, said when he reviewed the budget, it confirmed his suspicion that the administration intentionally underestimated the cost to make it more palatable to taxpayers. [Read_more]

Officials laud new film tax breaks | Times Herald-Record

"They are incorrectly accepting the premise that the state should be doing this in the first place and trying to get a bigger piece for their constituents," Girardin said. [Read_more]

NY faces growing budget gaps | Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

New York may face its first major budget gaps since 2011 as tax revenues are estimated to be less than initially anticipated, state budget records this week showed.

The looming budget gaps could be up to $2 billion in the next two years, which might influence state aid for schools and spending on programs proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"This is going to be acid test of his commitment to fiscal restraint," said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank. [Read_more]

Taxed Off: SUNY schools stress host communities | Gannett Newspapers

Mayor Justin Grigg — an assistant dean at his community’s other college, the private Alfred University — calls his village’s taxes “silly high.” At nearly $17 per $1,000 of assessed value, the 2015 tax rate was the highest in the western portion of the state, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy. That works out to about $1,700 for the owner of a $100,000 home. [Read_more]

Taxed Off: Private colleges strain municipal budgets | Gannett Newspapers

With New York's already high tax burden, the exempt properties can be a "bigger concern" here than in other states, said Kenneth Girardin, a policy analyst for the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank. [Read_more]
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