Buffalo’s murky teacher pact by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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Some of New York’s worst tendencies in bargaining with government unions were on display yesterday in Buffalo—even before the school board illegally took things behind closed doors. [Read_more]

“Czar” exiles energy facts by Kenneth Girardin |  | NY Torch

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy czar isn’t letting facts get in the way of attacking the growing number of dissenters who challenge Cuomo’s new Clean Energy Standard. [Read_more]

Are business losses a NY tax loophole? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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Does the massive tax loss claimed by Donald J. Trump 20 years ago point to some sort of loophole for the wealthy in New York State's current tax law?

That's the implication of Jim Dwyer's column in today's New York Times. But Dwyer reads too much into some data from the city's Independent Budget Office. [Read_more]

We’re number 49! by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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New York ranks 49th out of 50 states in the Tax Foundation's 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index, released today. (New Jersey seems permanently mired in last place, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.)

The Empire State's overall ranking on the widely noticed index is unchanged from last year, has ranged between 48th and 50th for a decade now, and has been 49 for most of Governor Andrew Cuomo's tenure. [Read_more]

Bending NY’s Medicaid curve by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

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Per-recipient spending by New York's Medicaid program has long far exceeded the national norm, a telling symptom of inefficiency in the state's health plan for the poor. But the gap appears to have narrowed significantly during Governor Andrew Cuomo's term, with New York's spending rate falling at about twice the national average between 2010 and 2014. [Read_more]

Another slow-growth sign for upstate by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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The latest federal estimates of the 2014-15 change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by metropolitan area provide a fresh perspective on upstate New York's persistent economic weakness.

With a real (inflation-adjusted) GDP gain of 2 percent—good enough to rank 154 out of the nation's 382 largest metros—Albany-Schenectady-Troy was upstate New York's fastest-growing area last year, according to preliminary estimates from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Affairs (BEA). The average GDP growth for all U.S. metro areas was 2.5 percent. [Read_more]

August jobs: more of the same by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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New York's preliminary employment numbers August were a near-repeat of July: private-sector job creation in the Empire State trailed the national average, with nearly all the net gains concentrated in New York City and its surrounding suburbs. [Read_more]

RIP, “Rapp” by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

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Republicans never held more than 58 of the 150 seats in New York State Assembly during Clarence D. “Rapp” Rappleyea’s 12 years as their minority leader. Yet Rappleyea, who died Sunday at age 82, was among the most consequential New York State legislative leaders of the 20th century. [Read_more]