Commentary

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

From the moment of its unveiling at the start of the year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “free” college tuition plan seemed to have been hastily reverse-engineered from a campaign slogan — a Bernie Sanders presidential campaign slogan, that is. The governor did nothing to dispel that impression when he invited the Vermont senator to deliver an endorsement of the plan when it was first rolled out at a Queens College rally on Jan. 3. Read More

Amid the smoke and confusion surrounding this week’s on-again, off-again budget dance in Albany, Gov. Cuomo made a point well worth repeating. Noting big federal-policy changes afoot in Washington, Cuomo said Wednesday evening that his top priority was “to make sure we do not overcommit ourselves financially.” That’s an eminently responsible position. Too bad the governor hasn’t followed his own advice. Read More

Imagine that the government, instead of distributing food stamps, wrote checks to grocery stores to reimburse them for giving stuff away. Now imagine that the government gave lots of that money to Zabar’s and Whole Foods while stiffing the bodegas and supermarkets where poor people actually shop. Such a system would be considered a travesty. Yet that, believe it or not, is how the state of New York finances health care for the uninsured. 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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