Blog

New Yorkers who haven't yet filed their 2014 tax returns are about to be reminded that the Empire State's income tax form is more cluttered than ever -- thanks, in part, to a proliferation of voluntary contribution "check-off" boxes. Since the establishment of the "Return a Gift to Wildlife" fund in 1982, the list of check-offs has expand to 10 causes, including cancer research, veterans remembrance and the development of the 9/11 memorial. As if that wasn't enough, some mental health groups want lawmakers to approve an eleventh checkoff, this one to be known as "Gift for Eliminating the Stigma Relating to Mental Illness." Read More

Albany's biggest, juiciest capital pork pie — the mysterious State and Municipal Facilities Program — just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Read More

One of the best things about New York's newly adopted state budget for fiscal 2016 is something that's not in it (yet): a costly new state subsidy of homeowners' local property taxes. Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget proposal included an income tax credit (of the type also known as a "circuit breaker") that, when fully implemented by 2019, would funnel $1.7 billion a year to about half of the state's homeowners, plus renters. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for allocating $5.4 billion in windfall funds has survived, almost intact, in the agreed-upon New York State budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 1. Consistent with Cuomo’s original vision, the final plan shortchanges basic transportation and municipal infrastructure. Read More

New York’s property tax cap has survived a legal challenge from the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) for the second time in six months. Read More

Throughout New York State, no public document has a greater impact on tax burdens and educational performance than the local teacher union contract. Yet few school districts have made any effort to share these contracts with taxpayers — and so the Empire Center has stepped into the breach by doing it for them. Read More

New York's local property tax cap would be made permanent under the Senate Republican version of a new state budget. From the taxpayers' perspective, it's very encouraging to see the Senate make a high-profile move to line up on this issue beside Gov. Cuomo, who already has promised to seek the cap's permanent enactment. Read More

New York City's welfare caseloads are expanding again—a deliberate and predictable outcome of Mayor Bill De Blasio's policies, as Manhattan Institute's Steve Eide points out in his new "Poverty and Progress in New York" report. Read More

Private sector employment growth in New York State continues to trail the U.S. as a whole, with upstate lagging far behind downstate, according to the latest state Department of Labor (DOL) monthly jobs report. Read More

As part of his plan for allocating $5.4 billion in one-shot windfall funds, Governor Cuomo wants to spend $500 million to expand the availability and capacity of broadband Internet access across New York. But given pressing traditional infrastructure needs, should broadband rate a high priority? Do we really need it? The governor's case, on closer inspection, is less than compelling. Read More