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The statewide teachers union is celebrating a court ruling that, in contravention of long-established precedents, would allow the New York State Teachers Retirement System to treat the identities of its pension recipients as confidential information. The Empire Center will be seeking leave to appeal the case, as our director, Tim Hoefer, announced yesterday. Read More

Assembly Democrats have introduced eight bills to sweeten pensions, the Citizens Budget Commission pointed out yesterday. Here’s a nice CBC chart summarizing those measures. By far the costliest, sponsored by Assemblymen Peter Abbate and William Colton of Brooklyn, would boost the salary “multiplier” used to calculate pensions for employees with more than 30 years service. Read More

To no one’s surprise, the statewide teachers’ union today filed suit to overturn New York’s local property tax cap. NYSUT has enlisted some parents of school children as co-plaintiffs, but the chief motive here is obvious: the tax cap is likely to limit future increases in teacher compensation, which is by far the largest category of local school expenditures. Read More

Kathy Marchione, 58, “retired” as Saratoga County Clerk before taking office as a state senator this year. That reportedly qualified her to start collecting a $66,000 pension—the equivalent of a job paying over $70,000 a year, after adjusting for the fact that pensions are not subject to payroll or state income taxes. Which is not too shabby, considering the average private sector pay in the Capital Region was just over $43,000 as of 2011... Read More

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to wire one-fifth of new parking spaces in New York City for electric vehicles would “force the private sector to build charging stations for a fleet of cars that don’t exist and probably won’t exist for years to come, if ever,” energy analyst Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute writes in today’s New York Post. Read More

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has drawn attention for a New York Times op-ed criticizing Governor Cuomo’s failure to deliver meaningful mandate relief to troubled localities. The mayor, who is also co-chair of the state Democratic Committee, challenged Cuomo to “use his substantial, hard-earned political capital to convene the Legislature, the state comptroller, and union and business leaders for an honest conversation about the multiple fiscal pressures confronting our cities.” Read More

Stop us if you’ve heard this one: “We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year … [A] family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong.” Read More