A tangled broadband proposal by Kenneth Girardin | | NYTorch

As part of his plan for allocating $5.4 billion in one-shot windfall funds, Governor Cuomo wants to spend $500 million to expand the availability and capacity of broadband Internet access across New York. But given pressing traditional infrastructure needs, should broadband rate a high priority? Do we really need it? The governor's case, on closer inspection, is less than compelling.

Cuomo’s fungible windfall by E.J. McMahon | | NYTorch

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Governor Cuomo repeatedly has said that the state’s unprecedented $5.4 billion cash windfall is a “one shot” that should not be spent on recurring expenses such as school aid or agency operations. Yet his proposed budget language might allow him to do just that.

NY leads in unionization by Kenneth Girardin | | NYTorch

AFL label
New York State had the nation's most unionized workforce in 2014, thanks largely to its very heavily unionized public sector.

Bankrolling Buffalo’s botox by Kenneth Girardin | | NYTorch

School districts across New York are clamoring for a full restoration of state aid cuts known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA. But a look at spending in the state's second-largest city illustrates how this battle is not necessarily all about the kids.

Despite probe, Cuomo ups VC funding by Kenneth Girardin | | NYTorch

A little-noticed section of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State “Opportunity Agenda” calls for investing another $100 million in state money in startup companies—even as federal auditors probe Innovate NY, the state’s original dalliance with venture capital (VC).

Got flowers? Thank surge pricing by Kenneth Girardin | | NYTorch

One of the hallmarks of ride-sharing services like Uber is their practice of temporarily boosting prices to encourage more drivers to accept fares. It’s supply and demand at its simplest, and while critics have derided this price mechanism, anyone giving flowers to their valentine today is living proof that “surge pricing” benefits both providers and consumers.

Pension fund inches up by E.J. McMahon | | NYTorch

New York State's largest public pension fund earned 1.91 percent during the quarter ending Dec. 31, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced today.
Meanwhile, the New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS) has confirmed its contribution rate will drop for the first time in five years when pension bills for 2015-16 come due in the fall.

Neither announcement says much about the long-term future path of taxpayer-funded pension costs in New York, however.

Questioning Cuomo’s numbers by E.J. McMahon | | NYTorch

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Governor Andrew Cuomo's projection of future "surpluses" rests on the expectation that he "will propose, and negotiate with the Legislature to enact, Budgets that hold State Operating Funds spending growth to 2 percent."

But is the governor really living under his own cap? A budget analysis by the state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office suggests, persuasively, that he isn't.
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