Governor Cuomo says that controlling the cost of prescription drugs will be part of his agenda in 2020. Four bills currently awaiting his signature or veto give him a chance to get started on that promise in 2019. Read More
A year after completing its replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, and seven years after starting construction on the project, the state Thruway Authority has finally gotten around to proposing a schedule for raising the eastbound-only bridge toll. Read More
Medicaid and other healthcare issues dominated the most-read posts on the Empire Center's NYTorch blog in 2019—a year that's ended under the shadow of a major state Medicaid budget overrun first disclosed on this site. Read More
Budget deficit? What budget deficit? With today’s pending recommendation from the Board of Regents, New York's education establishment is united in proposing that state aid to America's best-funded preK-12 public school system be increased next year by at least $2 billion. The figure is nearly double the amount projected in Governor Cuomo's financial plan—which showed the state is running deeply in the red and facing its largest budget shortfall since the Great Recession. Read More
The remarkable thing about state's multi-billion-dollar Medicaid crisis is that it is almost entirely the result of the Cuomo administration's own actions. There is no economic downturn or change in federal policy that explains the program's current $4 billion deficit, or its $3 billion projected gap in the next fiscal year, as confirmed in Friday's mid-year update to the state financial plan. Read More
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s regulatory attack on National Grid’s Long Island gas moratorium threatens to have broader negative financial effects on all of the state’s investor-owned utilities—with implications for the overall business climate as well. Read More
To fight crime and fare evasion in New York City subways, the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to hire 500 more officers for its police department—an unprecedented expansion of what's already one of the largest police forces based in New York State. As of 2018, the MTA Police employed a total of 773 officers, including new hires and officers who retired or otherwise left the payroll during the year, according to records posted at SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center's transparency website. MTA Police pay averaged $131,959, including average overtime of $34,936. The number of MTA Police officers was the highest in at least six years; in 2013, there 99 fewer total officers employed by the department. Read More
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