NY economy grew faster in 2014 by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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On the surface, today's newly released state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers for 2014 amount to an unalloyed good-news story for New York State. Preliminary data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis show the state's real GDP grew slightly faster than the national average in 2014, rebounding from a weak 2013.

However, a closer look at the data reveals stagnation last year in New York's manufacturing sector, offset by a heavy reliance on finance and other industries located mainly in New York City.
However, the new data also reflect a continuing decline in New York's manufacturing sector, offset by a heavy reliance on finance and other sectors located mainly in New York City. [Read_more]

EPA drills under anti-frackers by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just eliminated a substantial "scientific uncertainty" cited in support of New York State's ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of deep-underground natural gas deposits. [Read_more]

NY inching up towards $20k per pupil by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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Spending by New York State's public schools averaged $19,818 per pupil in 2012-13 — once again topping the nation — according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The gap between school spending in New York and the U.S. average continued to get wider in 2012-13—reaching 85 percent, up from 63 percent in 2005-06. [Read_more]

Senate moves ANTI-mandate relief by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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The Republican-controlled state Senate Civil Service and Pension Committee today approved a bill (S.3320) that would lock-in tens of billions of dollars in unfunded healthcare liabilities for state and local government retirees. [Read_more]

Hustle up! by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

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If you’ve spent any time at a little league baseball or soccer game, or any children's sporting event, you know the cry of "hustle up" means move faster. It’s a way adults try to keep the game moving—and remind the players of what they ought to be doing. [Read_more]

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]