Blog

While legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo were cooking their latest backroom state budget deal, the New York City Independent Budget Office was issuing five years' worth of updated statistics showing how heavily the city already depends on the volatile earnings of taxpayers at the top of the income pyramid. Read More

Three years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo blew a rare opportunity to fundamentally reform one of the most costly provisions of the New York State law regulating public-sector collective bargaining. Now he's about to blow it again. Read More

Buried in the budget bill passed by the state Senate last week was a provision that would add billions more dollars to New York City's already sizable long-term pension liabilities. The provision in question would increase disability retirement benefits for city police officers hired since 2009—and, by extension, also for city firefighters and members of other uniformed services. Read More

In 2014, the Empire Center created guidelines for what information local governments and school districts should make available on their websites—and found that most of the state's 500 largest municipalities and districts were not meeting that standard. Read More

In their budget bills, state Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans both had the good sense to reject one of the most egregious fiscal-political gimmicks ever to emerge from Governor Andrew Cuomo: a temporary income tax credit that would have reimbursed a portion of Thruway tolls paid by New York State residents and businesses. Read More

"Spending cap? What spending cap?" In effect, that's the state Assembly's opening public bid in state budget negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the fiscal year that starts April 1. Read More

Statewide private sector employment in New York as of December was up just 1 percent over the same month a year earlier—less than half the national rate, and the lowest such growth rate in New York since the end of the recession in 2009, according to revised employment data released last week by the state Labor Department (DOL). The total year-to-year gain of just 76,500 private jobs was less than half the average recorded in each of the four previous Decembers since Governor Andrew Cuomo took office. Read More

In his push for a statewide $15-an-hour minimum wage, Governor Andrew Cuomo frequently invokes fairness, justice and the rhetoric of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But the pre-FDR Progressive Era advocates of the minimum wage had a worldview that today would fit in best at a Donald Trump rally. Read More

New York’s Legislature has been exempt from many provisions of the state Freedom of Information Law since FOIL was first enacted in 1974. The Assembly and Senate ultimately decide how much legislative information to make public. This makes about as much sense as putting Cookie Monster in charge of security at the Chips Ahoy factory. As a result, a lot of information on legislative matters ranging from individual employee timesheets to a billion-dollar slush fund has been concealed from taxpayers. But if Governor Cuomo has his way, that could soon change. Read More

Before leaving Albany for the Legislature's Presidents' Week recess, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie tweeted up a storm in support of a new soak-the-rich tax hike proposal backed by most of his fellow Assembly Democrats. In the process, he trotted out some familiar myths and misleadingly incomplete data to support the claim that wealthy New Yorkers don't pay their "fair share" of state income taxes. Read More

For the third time in as many years, a state Senate committee has approved and sent to the Senate floor a bill that would lock in tens of billions of dollars worth of unfunded retirement health insurance coverage promised to New York government employees. The bill in question, sponsored by Republican Sen. Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, is designed to prevent state and local government employers from even attempting to restructure other post-employment benefits (OPEB) without first bargaining such changes with public employee unions. Read More