Blog

The Thruway Authority still hasn't revealed its plan for financing the new Tappan Zee bridge, but a state revolving loan fund for clean water projects will help prime the pump. Read More

New York's economy grew more slowly than those of all but four other states in 2013, the latest federal data show. The real GDP numbers are consistent with job-creation data, which also show the Empire State to be lagging well behind the U.S. as a whole. Read More

"How to Build a $3.4 Billion Bridge in Record Time" is the title of a scheduled discussion featuring Howard P. Milstein, chairman of the state Thruway Authority, at an upcoming Crain's NY forum on infrastructure issues. In fact, work on the New NY Bridge is still in the pile-driving stages, and no one can say whether even the first of the two spans will be completed on schedule in two years, much less whether the whole thing will come in on budget. Read More

Employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) make a good buck, and six-figure cash compensation in 2013 was by no means limited to the white-collar higher-ups, according to 2013 payroll records posted at SeeThroughNY today. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who already signed into law one increase in New York’s statewide minimum wage, has agreed to support raising the minimum another notch and giving localities the discretion to go even higher — all reportedly as a condition for receiving the endorsement of the labor union-dominated Working Families Party (WFP). Read More

"Uneven growth" in U.S. factory jobs since the recession is the subject of a front-page article in today's Wall Street Journal--and upstate New York is featured as a prime example of a region left behind by the positive trend. Read More

The cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls continued to lose population between 2010 and 2013, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates, and the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro area created jobs at less than half the national rate in the past year, Labor Department data show. But never fear: state and local pols are riding to Western New York’s rescue with a sure-thing ”catalyst of economic growth.” It’s … a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Read More

New York once again tops the 50-state (plus D.C.) rankings of per-pupil spending in the latest U.S. Census Bureau data on public school finances. As of 2012, public schools in the Empire State spent $19,552 per pupil—84 percent above the U.S. average, according to the latest annual Census Bureau report, which was released today. The gap between New York and the rest of the U.S. has increased significantly during the latest six years for which the Census Bureau has compiled these statistics. As of 2005-06, New York’s per pupil spending was 63 percent above average. Read More

Twenty-four school districts sought to override the state’s property tax levy cap in yesterday’s school budget votes. Nine districts, or 38 percent of those attempting, failed to garner the 60 percent supermajority vote needed to pass an override. The vast majority of school districts held their proposed tax levies below the statewide average of about 2.1 percent, including allowances for voter-approved capital spending, property taxes generated by new construction, and other factors. On a per-pupil basis, as detailed in the Empire Center’s annual School Budget Spotlight, the average proposed tax levy hike came to 2.6 percent. Spending growth in proposed budgets was 3.2 percent per pupil, one and a half times the inflation rate. Read More

New York State’s enacted budget and New York City’s proposed budget for fiscal 2015 both project that welfare cash assistance caseloads will decline in the year ahead. Since the city accounts for nearly two-thirds of the state caseload, those trends are closely related. Read More

New York State’s personal income tax (PIT) collections in April were a whopping $1.3 billion lower than in the same month last year, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s just-released monthly cash report.* Read More

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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