Commentary

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

New York City's severe post-9/11 fiscal crunch has prompted fresh calls in some quarters for reinstating the city's commuter tax, which could generate as much as $500 million, to help close a projected budget gap of $3.5 billion. Read More

Some members of New York's congressional delegation seem obsessed with worry that President Bush won't deliver every penny of the $20 billion in disaster relief he promised to the city in the wake of Sept. 11. Read More

Will the next mayor restore New York's battered, post-9/11 economy? The candidates' recovery plans don't inspire much confidence. Most of Mark Green's answers come out of the 1930s. And while Michael Bloomberg seems to have learned a few lessons from the '90s, he's still reluctant to embrace the most growth-oriented elements of the Giuliani philosophy. Read More

New York State's decision to roll the dice on more Indian casinos, video gaming and Powerball is ultimately expected to pump another $1 billion into the state treasury annually, but the inevitable court challenge may delay that payoff for several years. In the meantime, the state clearly faces a very real downturn in its economy and revenues. Read More

The horrific attack on the World Trade Center will deal a severe blow to New York's economy and government revenues for some time. In one day, the city was plunged into its worst fiscal crisis since 1990 - which, if mismanaged, may yet become as bad as the brush with bankruptcy in the mid-1970s. 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.