Commentary

When independent "dollar van" operators began to proliferate in Queens and Brooklyn in the wake of the 1980 transit strike, local politicians moved quickly to protect New York's inefficient public (and union) transit monopoly. Read More

The largest privately run ferry service be tween New Jersey and Manhattan is seeking a financial bailout for at least some of its operations from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which already controls most of the bridge, tunnel and rail network that ferry riders are paying a premium to avoid. Read More

Perception has a way of trumping reality in politics. Just ask former president George H.W. Bush, who was denied re-election in November 1992 largely because he was perceived as doing too little to end a relatively mild national recession that actually had been over for a year-and-a-half. Read More

It's no secret that Republicans will be venturing into enemy territory next week when they gather in the heart of the Big Apple to renominate President Bush. Yet residents of New York — state and city — have been huge winners under the Republican president's economic policies. By the same token, New Yorkers would be big losers under the tax proposals of the Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry. Read More

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

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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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