Commentary

New York is now one of only 14 states still imposing any tax on estates — the cash, land, houses, financial assets and other property left by deceased residents. The state estate tax, also called the "death tax," is triggered once assets exceed $1 million. By contrast, the federal government only taxes estates worth more than $5.34 million, a figure that will rise with inflation every year. Read More

High-income New Yorkers are probably the least stable, consistent and reliable segment of the city's income tax base. According to state tax data, there were 49,000 city households with adjusted gross income of more than $500,000 as of 2007. They earned $135 billion that year. Read More

‘Building on Success” was the theme of Gov. Cuomo’s election-year budget presentation in Albany this week. But while Cuomo boasts he’s got New York headed in the right direction, the latest economic and demographic indicators suggest we still have a long way to go. Read More

In his State of the State message last week, Gov. Cuomo once again cited the new Tappan Zee Bridge as a symbol of his ability to move forward on big, important infrastructure projects. But the governor hasn’t leveled with commuters and truckers on what they’ll be paying for this progress. Hint: a lot more than they do now. Read More

Unfortunately, Mr. Cuomo so far has been unwilling to combine the tax cap with meaningful local-mandate relief, especially public-sector collective-bargaining reforms that would give county executives, mayors and school boards more tools to live within the cap. Read More

Major residential, commercial and industrial developments throughout the country are subject to an array of federal and state laws designed to protect the environment. They're buttressed nearly everywhere by local land-use regulations addressing the community impacts of such projects. Read More

Gov. Cuomo has just been handed a decidedly mixed bag of tax-reduction recommendations — combining pro-growth business-tax cuts with a gimmicky “property-tax relief” package that would deliver virtually no economic bang for the buck. Read More

Gov. Cuomo has OK’d a bill allowing suburban Rockland County to issue bonds to cover a portion of its huge budget deficit — without the customary mandate for a state takeover of the troubled county’s finances. In letting Rockland buy time with borrowed money, the governor is all but inviting New York’s other troubled counties and municipalities to push for similar treatment. Read More

A large majority of New York City residents think the non-Indian gambling casinos authorized by Proposal One on next week’s statewide ballot will bring in “significant new revenue for New York state and local governments,” according to a New York Times-Siena poll released Tuesday. Read More

Bill de Blasio seems poised to waltz into Gracie Mansion largely on the strength of his proposal for a soak-the-rich income tax hike. But the tax increase would need approval in Albany, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to position himself as a moderate tax-cutter for his 2014 re-election bid. So the governor is doing his best to discourage de Blasio, warning that a city tax increase would prompt wealthy New Yorkers to flee to Florida. Read More

There’s an obvious irony — not to mention an obvious political motive — in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s choice of his Republican predecessor, former Gov. George Pataki, to co-chair a Tax Relief Commission that’s supposed to recommend tax cuts for next year’s state budget. 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.