Work from E.J. McMahon

Losing by winning by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State's tax collectors prevailed in a key administrative ruling last month—but in the long run, the state's taxpayers will probably be net losers as a result.

At issue here is the Empire State's effort to tax the investment income, dividends and capital gains earned in 2012 and 2013 by Nelson Obus, a hedge fund manager who during those years commuted regularly from his residence in New Jersey to his office in midtown Manhattan. [Read_more]

DiNapoli’s positive pension nudge by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

For the third time in nine years, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is reducing his assumed rate of returns on state pension fund investments.

DiNapoli today announced he will drop—to 6.8 percent from 7 percent— the rate of return for the fund that feeds the New York State Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), which cover roughly 1 million active and retired non-teachers outside New York City. [Read_more]

DMV’s license to shakedown by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

What's the legal and historical background of Governor Cuomo's plan to issue a new generation of New York license plates carrying a mandatory fee of $25 per set? [Read_more]

A June boon for NYC pension funds by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York City's five municipal public pension funds ended their 2019 fiscal year with an aggregate investment gain of 7.24 percent, slightly above their 7 percent assumed rate of return, according to a preliminary estimate by city comptroller's office.
[Read_more]

How Cuomo is cooking New York’s books by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

When lawmakers in Albany passed the state budget last spring, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared it “both timely and fiscally responsible.” Timely was true enough. But fiscally responsible? Not so much. [Read_more]

NY’s dimming budget outlook by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

When New York's current state budget was enacted, Governor Andrew Cuomo hailed it as "the broadest  and most sweeping" of his tenure, adding that "for the ninth straight year it was both timely and fiscally responsible."

"Timely," yes: budget bills were passed by the Legislature just in time for the April 1 dawn of a new fiscal year.

As for "fiscally responsible"—well, that's more a matter of opinion. [Read_more]

Session’s end clobbers NY economy by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The closing days and hours of New York State’s 2019 legislative session were easily among the most economically consequential in Albany’s recent history—but not in a positive sense. [Read_more]

NY’s getting a bit grayer by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The elderly share of America's population has been growing—but New York is graying more slowly. That’s among the trends to be gleaned from the latest U.S. Census estimates of population distributions by age group at the state and county level. [Read_more]

NY’s ominous new rent regs by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York City's World War II-rooted "housing emergency" is now officially indefinite—and has spread, potentially, to every corner of New York State.

But the potential negative impacts of the law won't be limited to the Big Apple. The law is likely to have a chilling effect on prospects for multifamily investment and development in struggling communities across New York—especially upstate. [Read_more]

Senate OKs less local say on cops by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Many of the faces have changed, and so has the majority party, but the state Senate is more united than ever in its willingness to weaken disciplinary procedures for cops and firefighters accused of wrongdoing. [Read_more]

Rochester schools: bad to worse by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

There's good news and bad news about Rochester schools from a new study comparing the variation in educational quality within urban educational systems.

The good news: measured by standardized pupil proficiency scores, there's only an 8.6 percentage point gap between good and bad schools in Rochester.

The bad news: even Rochester's good schools—those in the 75th percentile—have the lowest proficiency scores among the 68 largest urban school systems in the country. [Read_more]

The pension piece of “prevailing wage” by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York’s AFL-CIO has issued a statement blasting the “misinformation campaign” by business groups fighting organized labor’s push to impose union pay levels on private developments receiving public subsidies.

There is, indeed, plenty of misinformation wafting around this issue—but virtually all of it originated  in the union camp. [Read_more]

Unbalanced by Design: New York State’s Strong Executive Budget System by E.J. McMahon |  | Reports

This year marks the 90th anniversary of New York State’s first Executive Budget, presented by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt in January 1929. Constitutional amendments establishing the Executive Budget process had been approved by New York voters in November 1927, capping a more than decade-long bipartisan effort to bring order to what had been a shambolic and fiscally profligate legislative budget process. [Read_more]

NY per-pupil spending reaches $23k by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's spending on elementary and secondary education reached a record $23,091 per pupil in 2017, once again topping  all other states in this category, according to the latest U.S. Census data. [Read_more]

NY state pension fund earnings slump by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's Common Retirement Fund (CRF) fell nearly two percentage points short of its investment earnings target last year—and the state's other major public pension funds are on the same sub-par track. [Read_more]

NY job gains remain below US rate by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Today's jobs report from the state Labor Department carried the usual "Jobs at All-Time High" headline (when the "high" disappears, think recession).  

Also as usual, the April numbers showed a wide regional variation in private job creation rates around the state—and New York as a whole continues to trail employment growth nationally. [Read_more]

Embracing the OPEB iceberg by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

In what's become an annual tradition, New York state lawmakers have re-introduced bills designed to prohibit or restrict changes to expensive continuing health insurance coverage for current and future government retirees—which would effectively lock in a growing unfunded liability of more than a quarter trillion dollars for taxpayers across the state. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s SALT Flop by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

By midnight Monday, more than 9 million New Yorkers will have filed their income tax returns for 2018. And most will then have cause to wonder what the Great New York SALT Panic of 2018 was all about. [Read_more]

New York is looking at an ocean of red ink by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

New York’s new budget — the actual state-government expenditure plan, that is, as opposed to numerous side issues packaged with it — apparently came in close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bottom line. [Read_more]

How solid is budget’s foundation? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With the Legislature getting ready to pass a budget for the fiscal year starting April 1, some fresh data and analysis emerging from the world outside Albany in the past week or so has raised new questions about the durability of the state's revenue base. [Read_more]

NY’s ‘prevailing’ protection racket by E.J. McMahon |  | Newsday

Few public policies carry a more misleading moniker than New York’s “prevailing wage” law for public works projects — a job-destroying cost-escalator that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature may be on the verge of expanding as part of their impending state budget deal. [Read_more]

Tax cap offers strongest shield to NY’s poorest school districts by E.J. McMahon |  | Reports

Over the past seven years, New York’s cap on local property tax levies has generated billions of dollars in savings for homeowners and businesses, compared to previous trends. The cap has been especially effective in restraining school property taxes, which have long been the largest and fastest-growing component of New York’s tax burden. [Read_more]

One-house megabucks by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With the clock ticking toward the April 1 start of the next state fiscal year, Assembly Democrats just laid out their budget preferences—and, as usual, they add up to a massive tax-and-spend fantasy. [Read_more]

Jobs grow further apart in NY by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Newly revised data from the state Labor Department indicate New York's regional economic performance gap has grown larger in the last year.

On a year-to-year basis, the state gained 103,900 private-sector jobs in January—a growth rate of 1.3 percent at a time when the U.S. as a whole was growing by 2.1 percent, according to the state Labor Department's monthly jobs report. [Read_more]

NY’s “heart attack” recovery by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

As the budget process moves into higher gear, Governor Cuomo's "serious as a heart attack" revenue shortfall has turned into something more like angina—but financial risks are mounting along with projected future budget gaps. [Read_more]

New data point up “prevailing” myth by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Barely one in five private construction workers in New York State was covered by a union contract last year, according to newly released statistics that call into question a state public works "prevailing wage" mandate that assumes 30 percent union coverage of building trades occupations across New York. [Read_more]

Lights, camera, cash in! by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The collapse of New York's effort to lure Amazon's "second headquarters" to Queens with more than $3 billion in city and state incentives sheds fresh light on a bigger, ongoing corporate subsidy—New York State's Film and TV Production Credit. [Read_more]

$$$ On His Mind by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spent most of the past two weeks pointing fingers: first at President Trump, whose tax law he blames for a sudden decline in New York’s revenues, and then at state Senate Democrats, whom he holds responsible for the Amazon fiasco.

But the blame game will carry Cuomo only so far. In New York state’s executive budget system, the bucks stop with the governor. And, politically, this year’s budget process will be his most challenging yet, testing both his ability to manage legislative relations and his commitment to financial restraint. [Read_more]
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