Blog

It's a simple concept: governments collect tax dollars from citizens, then spends those tax dollars on services for them. Citizens have a right to know how those tax dollars are spent. Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw gets it. Read More

He didn't use the phrase himself, but the property tax credit unveiled yesterday by Governor Andrew Cuomo is of the type commonly known as a "circuit breaker." Like an electrical switch designed to automatically prevent a power overload, a circuit breaker tax credit is supposed to kick in when homeowners' property tax burdens overload their ability to pay. Cuomo's proposal would not represent a property tax cut but a means-tested state personal income break -- available only to some homeowners, and not available to owners of commercial, industrial or multi-family properties, which pay a hefty share of local taxes. Read More

The impact of declining crude oil prices, already visible at the gas pump, has now rippled through to New York State’s petroleum business tax (PBT). Effective Jan. 1, the PBT on motor fuel has dropped by a whopping six-tenths of a penny, to 17.8 cents per gallon from 18.4 cents per gallon, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. Read More

The Kingston school board struck a blow for local taxpayers last month when it voted against requiring a project labor agreement (PLA) on a school renovation project. While local union leaders slammed the move as “fiscally irresponsible,” the board’s 5-4 vote was a big win for taxpayers and sets an example for other communities facing a similar choice. Read More

With the economy improving, New York’s “domestic migration” loss has jumped back to pre-recession levels—pushing the Empire State to fourth place, behind Florida, in national population rankings. Read More

A bill expanding the share of New York public pension funds that can be invested in complex, high-risk alternative assets such as private equity and hedge funds has been vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State is a huge blow to the fragile and declining economy of the Southern Tier. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo last week announced a new "Innovation Venture Capital Fund" to invest up to $50 million in public funds into start-up companies. Meanwhile, the state’s existing venture fund, known as Innovate NY, is the subject of a federal audit focused on a firm whose managing director was named by Cuomo to his 2010 gubernatorial transition team and to a regional economic development council. Read More

Two days after the Empire Center highlighted looming deficits in the state Thruway Authority budget, the authority's board has put off the meeting at which it was expected to adopt a final budget for 2015. Read More