Large majority wants to keep the cap by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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Almost three-fourths of New Yorkers agree that the property tax cap "has accomplished what was intended" and "should be continued," according to a Siena Research Institute poll released this morning. But support climbs even higher when respondents in New York City—which was not affected by the property tax cap law—are excluded. [Read_more]

Pension fund return falls short by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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New York State's largest public pension fund earned 7.16 percent — short of its 7.5 percent target — during the fiscal year ending March 31, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced today.

The $183.5 billion Common Retirement Fund, of which DiNapoli is sole trustee, had previously announced a first-quarter gain of 3.8 percent, a second-quarter loss of 0.52 percent and a third-quarter gain of 1.91 percent. [Read_more]

The cap-buster count, 2015 edition by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

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Eighteen school districts sought to override the state's property tax cap in yesterday's school budget votes—the fewest attempts since the tax cap was enacted. Seven of those districts failed to win the 60 percent supermajority required to override the cap. [Read_more]

State’s ad splurge didn’t pay off by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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New York State's economic development agency spent more than $200 million to advertise its programs without attempting to measure whether the ads produced results, according to an audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. [Read_more]

Senate to ambush taxpayers? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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While the news media and public were distracted by the questions swirling around the future leadership of the Senate Republican majority, the Senate this week moved a bill that would lock in tens of billions of dollars of unfunded lifetime health insurance coverage health coverage for police and firefighters. [Read_more]

Cuomo, lawmaker pay on auto-hike by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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Squirreled away in the new state budget is a provision—first proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo—that will guarantee future periodic pay raises for the governor, New York State legislators and other state government officials. But is it constitutional? [Read_more]

Stigmatizing tax checkoffs by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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New Yorkers who haven't yet filed their 2014 tax returns are about to be reminded that the Empire State's income tax form is more cluttered than ever -- thanks, in part, to a proliferation of voluntary contribution "check-off" boxes.

Since the establishment of the "Return a Gift to Wildlife" fund in 1982, the list of check-offs has expand to 10 causes, including cancer research, veterans remembrance and the development of the 9/11 memorial.

As if that wasn't enough, some mental health groups want lawmakers to approve an eleventh checkoff, this one to be known as "Gift for Eliminating the Stigma Relating to Mental Illness." [Read_more]

Oink again! by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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Albany's biggest, juiciest capital pork pie — the mysterious State and Municipal Facilities Program — just keeps getting bigger and bigger. [Read_more]

No tax news is good news, for now by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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One of the best things about New York's newly adopted state budget for fiscal 2016 is something that's not in it (yet): a costly new state subsidy of homeowners' local property taxes.

Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget proposal included an income tax credit (of the type also known as a "circuit breaker") that, when fully implemented by 2019, would funnel $1.7 billion a year to about half of the state's homeowners, plus renters. [Read_more]

Gone with the windfall by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for allocating $5.4 billion in windfall funds has survived, almost intact, in the agreed-upon New York State budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 1.

Consistent with Cuomo’s original vision, the final plan shortchanges basic transportation and municipal infrastructure. [Read_more]

Budget serves up leftover pork by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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The pork-barrel spending better known as legislative member items has reappeared in a budget bill that New York State legislators are expected to vote on this week. [Read_more]
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