The agreed upon fiscal year 2012-13 state budget contains two smart policy initiatives that both save money and happen to be good public policy: a state takeover of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) state supplement payment and enactment of a new close to home initiative for low and limited risk youthful offenders. Read More

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg paid to Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein in New York last week. The visits highlight a big risk to both Britain and New York's recoveries. Top leaders o Read More

In delivering on Speaker Sheldon Silver's session-opening pledge to eliminate taxes on New Yorkers earning less than $30,000, Assembly Democrats have come up with a scheme that would make proud. Keep in mind the households in question already pay Read More

Well, what do you know? Seventy-one percent of public school teachers in New York think new teachers should be able to choose between a traditional defined-benefit pension and a defined-contribution (DC) plan, like the one available to State University of New York (SUNY) professors for nearly 50 years, according to a poll the Empire Center poll released today... Read More

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 100 times: the average annual benefit paid by the state pension system in 2011 was $19,151 — “not a big amount for someone whose [sic] gave a lifetime of service,” as the Public Employees Federation (PEF) puts it in a letter and blast fax to state legislators. Read More

AFSCME, the nation’s biggest public-sector labor union, is mounting a statewide ad campaignclaiming that “politicians in Albany” want to “cut the pensions of firefighters, teachers and nurses by 40 percent.” Read More

The inevitable is now official: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today said Governor Cuomo should “work out” his proposed Tier 6 pension reform with public-sector labor unions. As the governor himself pointed out just last week, the Legislature effectively prefers to give unions a “veto” over any change–which, if it sticks, means there will no meaningful change at all. Read More

An alert reader has provided the answer to a question posed on this blog yesterday: how or where did the state’s largest public employee union come up with its estimate that Governor Cuomo’s proposed Tier 6 pension plan will “reduce benefits” by 40 percent? 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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