Commentary

In his recent debate with Astorino, Cuomo said: “Rhetoric is fine. Facts are better.” The fact is that the tax cap is working — but it needs to be permanent to make a permanent difference. Read More

On Election Day, New York voters will be asked to let the state borrow up to $2 billion to help public schools buy computer hardware they don’t urgently need and create space for pre-kindergarten programs that most districts outside New York City can’t afford. Read More

Move over, Jimmy Fallon. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that New York State will steer $16 million in subsidies to CBS to keep the "Late Show" in Manhattan under its next host, Stephen Colbert. Read More

No matter how much the left wants to expand government, no matter how much the right wants to cut taxes, both ought to observe a fundamental rule of government spending: Never use one-shot revenues to fund recurring operating expenses. Read More

New York will reap a state budget windfall of at least $3.3 billion in fines paid by the big French bank BNP Paribas after it pleaded guilty recently to violating sanctions against transactions in Cuba, Sudan and Iran. So, how should the money be spent? Read More

Public-sector labor unions dodged a bullet Monday when the US Supreme Court refrained from overturning laws that force government employees in many states to pay fees to unions they don’t want to join. Read More

Skyrocketing public-pension obligations have generated concern across the country, especially in the wake of high-profile bankruptcies of Detroit and Stockton, Calif. In New York, an even larger burden looms in the form of lifetime health-insurance coverage promised to state and local government employees. Yet at least one house of the Legislature is considering a bill that would effectively prevent any effort to reduce this unaffordable debt. Read More

Mayor Bill de Blasio's 9-year contract agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, including a pair of 4 percent base-salary increases retroactive to the fall of 2008, will cost so much that he wants to defer some of the expense all the way out to the end of the decade. Read More

Why are New York's property taxes so high? Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo claims it is "because we have 10,500 local governments." That would be pretty alarming -- if it were true. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, New York has 3,453 local governments, a little less than one-third the governor's number. Relative to population, that's not especially large by national standards. Read More

Cuomo has, indeed, slapped a cap on local property-tax levies — a real accomplishment. But his budget wouldn’t actually “cut” them. Instead, it would shift a little more of the local tax burden to the state tax base — in the long run promoting more growth in local spending and taxes. Read More

In total, the state's multiple levels of government burn through more than $190 billion a year from their own revenue sources, mainly taxes. Another $60 billion comes the federal government - which has its own claim on our wallets. But where does it all go? Thanks to the digital revolution, anyone with access to the Internet can begin to find some answers to that question. Read More

Gov. Cuomo is proposing the most significant reform and reduction of New York’s estate tax in 17 years. This is a big reason why public employee unions and their allied advocacy groups are now claiming that Cuomo’s tax agenda favors “millionaires and billionaires.” Read More

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About

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.