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]

Tax cap 2, NYSUT 0 by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

Tax Cap
New York’s property tax cap has survived a legal challenge from the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) for the second time in six months. [Read_more]

Shining a light on teacher union contracts by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

Throughout New York State, no public document has a greater impact on tax burdens and educational performance than the local teacher union contract.

Yet few school districts have made any effort to share these contracts with taxpayers — and so the Empire Center has stepped into the breach by doing it for them. [Read_more]

Senate steps up on cap by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Tax Cap
New York's local property tax cap would be made permanent under the Senate Republican version of a new state budget.

From the taxpayers' perspective, it's very encouraging to see the Senate make a high-profile move to line up on this issue beside Gov. Cuomo, who already has promised to seek the cap's permanent enactment. [Read_more]

Welfare is back by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York City's welfare caseloads are expanding again—a deliberate and predictable outcome of Mayor Bill De Blasio's policies, as Manhattan Institute's Steve Eide points out in his new "Poverty and Progress in New York" report. [Read_more]

Same old jobs story, updated by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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Private sector employment growth in New York State continues to trail the U.S. as a whole, with upstate lagging far behind downstate, according to the latest state Department of Labor (DOL) monthly jobs report. [Read_more]

A tangled broadband proposal by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s fungible windfall by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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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. [Read_more]

NY leads in unionization by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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

Bankrolling Buffalo’s botox by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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. [Read_more]

Despite probe, Cuomo ups VC funding by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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). [Read_more]