The employer share of pension contributions in New York has risen by more than $3 billion in the last five years, straining taxpayers throughout the state. Yet state legislators this year have passed dozens of bills—and introduced literally hundreds of others—that would further expand the already generous retirement benefits of government workers. Read More
New York State and New York City were pushing the envelope on "public use" condemnations of private property to benefit other private owners even before the practice was ratified in a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision last week. The Kelo ruling provides more than enough justification for a careful reconsideration of eminent domain and its uses by the UDC and other government agencies in New York. Will any of our elected officials take the hint? Stay tuned. Read More
The State Legislature appears close to passing a significant change in the law governing how the comptroller invests New York’s $120 billion Common Retirement Fund for state and local employees. But the bill has potentially far-reaching implications that deserve more careful consideration—and a public hearing. Read More
With little advance notice or fanfare, a constitutional amendment (S.1) that would give the Legislature much more power to shape the state budget was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee today. The Assembly version (A.2) was approved back in February, so the measure is now a big step closer to a statewide voter referendum. Read More
New York State spending has increased faster during the four fiscal years since the latest economic downturn began in 2001 than during a comparable recession and recovery period in the early 1990s. Read More
State funds spending would rise at twice the inflation rate under Governor Pataki's proposed 2005-06 Executive Budget. And despite much-ballyhooed "cuts," state-funded Medicaid costs next year would increase nearly 13 percent. Read More
City-funded spending would increase almost 10 percent under New York's newly adopted budget for fiscal 2005. The budget's financing structure, which relies heavily on prior-year surplus and one-shot revenues, sets the stage for a looming shortfall in fiscal 2006. Read More
A “budget reform” measure partially approved by the New York State Senate and Assembly is little more than a constitutional power grab by the Legislature and a prescription for higher spending. Read More
The projected "out-year" gap in Mayor Bloomberg's proposed 2005 budget is the largest on record, leaving New York's finances extremely vulnerable to external shocks in the year ahead. City spending is now growing at an unsustainable pace; as a result, barring another boom on the late 1990s scale, Bloomberg could feel increasingly pressed to reduce spending as he approaches the next mayoral election. Read More
New York State spending has outpaced inflation even as tax receipts plummeted since 2001. The state budget is on track to continue growing at twice the inflation rate over next several years—resulting in large projected future budget gaps, and raising the specter of expanded tax hikes." Read More
A tentative contract agreement between Governor George Pataki and New York’s largest union of state government workers would permanently add billions of dollars to New York State and New York City budgets, if it is ratified by union membership and ends up setting a pattern for the state’s other collective bargaining units. Read More
New York State needs to spend $7 billion more to finance a “sound, basic education” for all pupils, according to the group that successfully sued to overturn the state’s education finance system. What kind of tax hike would it take to pay for such a draconian solution? This memo explores the range of possible answers to that question. Read More
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