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Gov. Cuomo today signed a bill that further distances him from the longstanding state policy of tying strong oversight strings to deficit bonding requests from fiscally troubled local governments. Read More

In an apparent concession to construction trade unions, one of Governor Cuomo’s 30-day budget bill amendments would effectively require use of project-labor agreements (PLAs) on “design-build” infrastructure contracts of more than $10 million. This raises the likelihood that savings made possible by the use of the design-build method will be undermined by the imposition of PLAs, which favor less efficient union labor. Read More

Anyone with a “permanent place of abode” in New York is required by law to pay income taxes to the state — and to New York City, as well, if the “abode” is there. But if you’re an out-of-state resident who sets up and maintains a rent-free home for your parents in New York, does that make you a New York resident, too? Read More

An article in The New York Times today touts NBC’s “significant investment” in a state-of-the-art studio at 30 Rockefeller Center for “Tonight” and its new host, Jimmy Fallon. But the article never mentions who’s footing a chunk of the bill for Tonight’s move back to New York from California: the taxpayers of New York State. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing the broadest and most concerted facility downsizing effort by any New York governor in recent history, as noted here last summer. In addition to prison closures and consolidations, the governor has proposed shutting down nine psychiatric centers for the acutely mentally ill, consolidating a new institutional network of “Regional Centers of Excellence,” and shifting more of the Office of Mental Health (OMH) budget to”community-based” services. Read More

The New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) has officially confirmedpretty much what it predicted last fall: the taxpayer-financed pension contribution rate payable in the fall of 2015 will rise to 17.53 percent of teacher payrolls, or 1.28 percent above the contribution payable this coming September. Read More

The New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) has officially confirmed pretty much what it predicted last fall: the taxpayer-financed pension contribution rate payable in the fall of 2015 will rise to 17.53 percent of teacher payrolls, or 1.28 percent above the contribution payable this coming September. Read More

Under the 2014 enacted budget, capital expenditures on highways and bridges were projected to total $19.742 billion by 2018. But under Cuomo’s latest budget proposal, the five-year total would come to $19,462, a decrease of $280 million from what was projected just a few months ago. Read More

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has agreed to a seven-year contract that will give MTA cops base pay increases totaling 18 percent, including a 7.5 percent retroactive boost effective immediately, the Daily News reports. Union members also scored a boost in their longevity pay, which will rise to a maximum of $9,800, in exchange for agreeing to curb overtime, stretch-out the schedule of annual pay hikes for newly hired officers and make new recruits pay 2 percent of their salaries toward health insurance. Read More

New York’s imminent fall from third to fourth most populous state can be attributed mainly to its heavy loss of residents to the rest of the country—a trend persisting in this decade, according to Census Bureau data released today. 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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