Commentary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wanted New York to adopt a limit on greenhouse gas emissions that’s “the most aggressive goal in the country.” Unfortunately for New Yorkers, state lawmakers took him at his word. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act now awaiting his signature vastly expands the state’s power to regulate every corner of New York’s economy in pursuit of lower emissions. Yet sponsors didn’t even bother to estimate its fiscal and economic impacts before rushing it through. Read More

Unemployment insurance programs are meant to help people who become jobless through no fault of their own. Nearly every state has disallowed benefits to employees who are on strike. But New York’s state Senate recently voted to let strikers get benefits one week after walking off the job—essentially putting them on equal footing with those who are laid off. Read More

By midnight Monday, more than 9 million New Yorkers will have filed their income tax returns for 2018. And most will then have cause to wonder what the Great New York SALT Panic of 2018 was all about. Read More

Few public policies carry a more misleading moniker than New York’s “prevailing wage” law for public works projects — a job-destroying cost-escalator that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature may be on the verge of expanding as part of their impending state budget deal. Read More

When New York’s 2 percent cap on local property tax levies was about to become law in June 2011, the statewide teachers union warned of an apocalypse just around the corner. Eight years later, New York’s school districts are better funded than ever—still atop national expenditure rankings, now laying out nearly 90 percent more per pupil than the 50-state average. But the rise in school property taxes statewide has slowed by more than two-thirds, to an average of 1.8 percent a year, saving homeowners and businesses billions of dollars in 2018 alone.   Read More

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spent most of the past two weeks pointing fingers: first at President Trump, whose tax law he blames for a sudden decline in New York’s revenues, and then at state Senate Democrats, whom he holds responsible for the Amazon fiasco. But the blame game will carry Cuomo only so far. In New York state’s executive budget system, the bucks stop with the governor. And, politically, this year’s budget process will be his most challenging yet, testing both his ability to manage legislative relations and his commitment to financial restraint. Read More

Disentangled from his rambling and often hyper-partisan State of the State Address, the fiscal basics of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget largely amount to more of the same policies he has pursued in the past — for better and worse. Read More

Of course Mayor de Blasio, card-carrying progressive that he is, supports setting up a government-funded single-payer health plan in New York, and declared as much in his State of the City speech on Thursday. Just 48 hours earlier, though — and perhaps unwittingly — de Blasio made the best case yet that single-payer would be a colossal waste of time and money. Read More

The prospect of a 70 percent top federal income tax rate, floated by newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on “60 Minutes” over the weekend, struck a nerve across the political spectrum. But Albany Democrats should think twice before cheering her on — because New York, in particular, would have a lot to lose from a return to confiscatory federal taxes on higher earners. 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.