Commentary

A court-imposed dead line for changing New York state's school fund ing formula will probably come and go in the next two weeks, without any agreed-upon response from Gov. Pataki and legislative leaders in Albany. At that point, it will be up to state Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse — and, by extension, the appellate courts above him — to decide what needs to be done to ensure a "sound basic education" for all New York City students. Read More

Thanks to state budget gridlock in Albany, New York City homeowners will have to wait at least a little longer for Mayor Bloomberg's $400 property tax rebate. Read More

New York City has finally wriggled off the hook for what's left of that ‘70s debt. Under last week's ruling by the state's highest court, $2 billion the city was obligated to pay the Municipal Assistance Corp. (MAC) over the next four years will be transformed into roughly $5 billion in state payments to yet another financing entity over the next 30 years. Read More

Even as the economic outlook brightens, New York City's long-term budget picture is deteriorating. And, aside from pointing fingers at Albany, Mayor Bloomberg seems to have few new ideas for dealing with the problem. Read More

San Diego's $1.1 billion pension fund deficit has been blamed on deliberate underfunding of the city employees' pension system, compounded by costly benefit enhancements for city retirees. But San Diego is hardly the only government employer with a big pension headache these days. Read More

Seeking to divert attention from their failure to adopt a budget on time for the 20th consecutive year, state legislative leaders have unveiled a budget reform package that will do little to fix New York's dysfunctional budget process. In many respects, it could actually make things much worse. Read More

New York state legislative leaders reportedly are still optimistic that they can produce an on-time budget for the first time in two decades. This, says state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, "would be a tremendous achievement." Read More

The push to overhaul New York's public authorities was kicked into higher gear this week by a package of "reform" proposals from state Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Read More

Where can a city turn for more cash when it already taxes practically everything that moves? The latest suggestions from New York's Independent Budget Office (IBO) point to gourmet coffee and cosmetic surgery, prompting well-earned snickers all around. Read More

Welfare reform was one of the big successes of the Giuliani years. Unfortunately, the city's welfare rolls are no longer steadily falling. What's more, other forms of public assistance have been steadily rising. Read More

Mayor Bloomberg's planned property-tax rebate for New York City homeowners won't provide the same economic boost as a permanent rate cut for all property taxpayers. But it sweeps $250 million off the budgetary table and away from the grasping hands of the municipal labor unions and City Council. 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.