Commentary

Plenty of unintended consequences, positive and negative, will be lurking in the fine print of the tax-reform bill unveiled Thursday by House Republicans. But it’s already clear the plan would clobber Albany’s favorite cash cow: the seven-figure earners who generate more than 40 percent of the state income tax. Read More

New York pols need to recognize that it's in their own interest to pay more attention to these commuters, if only to keep their tax payments flowing smoothly. At the very least, that means giving a higher priority to infrastructure improvements that benefit taxpayers on both sides of the Hudson. Read More

President Trump last week suggested that economically struggling upstate New York residents should be willing to move to areas with better job prospects. This wasn’t exactly an original or outrageous idea — yet it still managed to ruffle feathers among defensive New York officials. Read More

Over the past three years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reaped an unprecedented windfall of more than $10 billion in fines and penalties paid by major financial institutions for violating various state and federal banking laws. Coming virtually out of the blue, the windfall represented a unique opportunity to get ahead of the state’s most pressing problems — including but not limited to those of the transit system. It’s an opportunity Cuomo has mostly squandered. Read More

Albany Democrats never got the memo that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. They’re peddling a universal health-care plan they claim would not only cost nothing more, but leave the state $45 billion richer. The plan might as well be signed by a Nigerian prince. Read More

Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio presented a fiscal 2018 Executive Budget that called for pension contributions totaling $9.6 billion — another all-time high. Yet city pension plans remain significantly underfunded even by lenient government accounting standards, posing a big risk to New York’s fiscal future. Read More

New York state, its local governments and public authorities are committed to spending tens of billions of dollars on public works in the next five to 10 years. But under current law, they’re also committed to wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on public works — to subsidize the above-market compensation of the state’s shrinking but politically influential construction unions. 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.