Commentary

You wouldn't know it from the gubernatorial campaign commercials, but New York state is facing an enormous budget gap next year. By far the toughest challenge facing the winner of the Nov. 5 election will be to close that gap without derailing a still-wobbly state economy. Read More

Imagine if construction crews had just bulldozed most of the Ground Zero wreckage a few blocks further down West Street - and then took this summer off. In effect, that's how Albany and City Hall responded when, in the wake of 9/11, the state and city budgets plunged into the fiscal equivalent of a 10-story-deep, debris-filled hole in the ground. Read More

Consider the Gotham Corporation - a multibillion-dollar service conglomerate given up for dead in the mid-1970s and widely written off as an Old Economy dinosaur just a decade ago, only to emerge as one of the great turnaround stories of the 1990s. Read More

In a single year, New York State's finances have been knocked out of kilter by a deep stock market slump, a national recession and an unprecedented terrorist attack aimed right at the heart of its tax base. The result, says Gov. Pataki, has been a loss of $7 billion in revenue. Read More

There are a whole lot of ways to close a $4.9 billion gap in a $40 billion budget, as Mayor Bloomberg demonstrated once again this week. He wants to balance the budget without imposing economically devastating tax hikes. Read More

As if New York's economy wasn't already stressed enough, there's a renewed push in the City Council for a local "living wage" law that could hinder the city's economic renewal while reducing job opportunities for the very people it is supposed to help. Read More

One welcome change in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's preliminary budget is a more accurate count of New York City's enormous municipal workforce. It turns out there are even more city employees than anyone previously thought -- ironically underscoring just how little Mayor Bloomberg is initially proposing in the way of agency workforce reductions, despite all the talk of budgetary "pain." Read More

Much of Gov. Pataki's proposed state budget (his costly expansion of health care, in particular) is a far cry from the leaner, cleaner fiscal plans of his first term. But in at least one crucial respect, New York's revenue shortfall has prompted a welcome return to his budgetary roots: For the first time in seven years, the governor is launching a concerted effort to reduce the size of the state work force. Read More

One of first things Mayor Bloomberg needs to do is to disabuse himself of the notion that the city's budget gap is mainly "a revenue problem," as he put it soon after the election. Yes, revenue projections have fallen sharply in the wake of the World Trade Center attack. But the city faced a budget gap even pre-9/11 - and the fundamental reason is spending. 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.