Pols aim for design-build by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

Some of New York State’s major transportation infrastructure projects are now benefiting from expanded use of the design-build process—but a costly pro-union rider has been attached to proposed legislation extending design-build authorization to public works financed by New York City, and could set a troubling precedent. [Read_more]

Music, video gamers get $50m subsidy by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's Legislature couldn't leave town without making it easier for the music and gaming industries to collect up to $50 million a year in tax subsidies, modeled after the state's existing (and outrageous) giveaway to film and TV producers. [Read_more]

Another slow-growth NY jobs report by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Private sector employment in New York State grew at barely half the U.S. average rate during the 12 months ending in May, according to the latest monthly jobs report from the state Labor Department. [Read_more]

Albany’s cancer deal misses mark by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo’s deal with legislative leaders on expanded access to breast cancer screening falls squarely within three unfortunate Albany traditions: It micromanages the health-care industry in ways that add red tape and drive up costs. It singles out a high-profile disease for special treatment. And it accomplishes less than what’s promised by the press release. [Read_more]

NY economy stagnated at end of 2015 by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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That was the seasonally adjusted annual rate of growth in New York State's economic output during the fourth quarter of 2015, according to preliminary Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data released today. [Read_more]

Will Albany bust the cap? by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

Property Tax
With just three work days remaining in the legislative session, a number of bills that would loosen the property-tax cap await consideration in both houses. The pending legislative efforts range from small modifications to the cap formula to allow more spending without triggering the cap’s supermajority requirement, to doing away with the supermajority requirement altogether. [Read_more]

Albany’s unlearned lessons of HRI by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Confirmation hearings for Maria Vullo to be superintendent of the Department of Financial Services hit a sour note when the questioning turned to last year’s collapse of Health Republic. [Read_more]

NY again tops US school spending by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Public elementary and secondary school spending in New York reached an all-time high of $20,600 per-pupil in 2013-14 school year, topping all states and exceeding the $11,009 per-pupil national average by 87 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today. [Read_more]

“Business climate” review ends in yawn by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Days after saddling New York employers with higher minimum wages and the nation's most generous paid family leave mandate, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced in early April that they had formed a temporary Business Regulation Council to come up with ideas for improving the business climate.

The panel's recommendations are, to virtually no one's surprise, underwhelming. [Read_more]

The smudgy green in biodiesel by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

The state Senate is considering a measure to force New Yorkers to buy heating oil blended with biodiesel—but it’s not the kind of environmentally friendly, “green” policy its supporters would have you believe. [Read_more]
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