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New York State and Erie County officials today reportedly will join in announcing that the Buffalo Bills have signed a 10-year renewal of their stadium lease, and that team owners have agreed to pay a $400 million penalty if they move out of Buffalo before the lease expires. Read More

For a second time, Governor Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would require the state to reimburse New York City for retiree health benefits paid to former employees of the bankrupt New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. (OTB). That’s good. Unfortunately, once again, he has left the door open to signing the bill in the future. And that’s troubling. Read More

Instead of raising $85 million by hiking commercial tolls 45 percent, the state Thruway Authority will be shifting at least $60 million in State Police Thruway patrol costs to the state budget’s general fund. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo today finally got around to announcing most of the members of the “Tax Reform and Fairness Commission,” which he first promised to create a year ago as part of the legislative deal that temporarily extended the state’s income tax hike on million-dollar earners. Read More

New York residents will pay almost $90 billion in added taxes over the next two years if the federal government plunges over its fiscal “cliff” with no changes to current law, according to a timely report issued last week by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The scheduled tax changes outweigh the impact of scheduled “sequestration” cuts to federal spending, which would cost the state and local governments $5 billion over the next nine years, including a $600 million hit to the state budget in fiscal 2013. Read More

Twenty-nine days past the legal deadline, the Cuomo Administration finally got around to posting the state’s required mid-year financial plan update on the Division of the Budget (DOB) website late yesterday afternoon. As expected, the report does not included an estimate of fiscal impacts from Superstorm Sandy. DOB says it is still working on those numbers. Read More

For a second straight year, Governor Andrew Cuomo has fallen behind the schedule for releasing the required quarterly update to the state financial plan. And for a second straight year, the governor can’t come up with a persuasive reason for the delay. Read More

“Cash-strapped New York has tentatively chosen the highest bidder to produce driver’s licenses under a disputed contract that would provide only black-and-white photos and end up costing the state nearly $38 million more than the current contract if it’s approved,” the AP reports. Read More

The prices of some previously high-flying stocks such as Apple recently have been plummeting, and the stock market has just suffered “its worst week of declines in five months,” the Wall Street Journal reports. This is not good news for savers and investors — but it may be causing sighs of relief in some corners of the state Capitol. Read More

When welfare reform was enacted in 1996, creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, a less-noticed provision was the greatly increased focus on collecting child support for custodial parents (almost always mothers) and their children. Read More

The Food Stamp Program has changed its name to SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- an appropriate moniker, since in current economic conditions, states are making it a snap to qualify. 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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