Work from E.J. McMahon

The Board of Regents push a reckless spending spree by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Daily News

New York State is facing its biggest budget deficit since Gov. Cuomo took office at the end of the Great Recession — but you’d never know it from watching or listening to the Board of Regents, the state’s education policy-making body. [Read_more]

Regents flunk finance (again) by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Budget deficit? What budget deficit?

With today’s pending recommendation from the Board of Regents, New York's education establishment is united in proposing that state aid to America's best-funded preK-12 public school system be increased next year by at least $2 billion. The figure is nearly double the amount projected in Governor Cuomo's financial plan—which showed the state is running deeply in the red and facing its largest budget shortfall since the Great Recession. [Read_more]

Parsing the MTA Police push by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

To fight crime and fare evasion in New York City subways, the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to hire 500 more officers for its police department—an unprecedented expansion of what's already one of the largest police forces based in New York State.

As of 2018, the MTA Police employed a total of 773 officers, including new hires and officers who retired or otherwise left the payroll during the year, according to records posted at SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center's transparency website.  MTA Police pay averaged $131,959, including average overtime of $34,936.  The number of MTA Police officers was the highest in at least six years; in 2013, there 99 fewer total officers employed by the department. [Read_more]

Upstate income sluggish in 2018 by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Newly released federal data on personal income growth last year point to the continued economic weakness of upstate New York.

Measured in current dollars, unadjusted for inflation, personal income nationally increased 5.6 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Affairs (BEA). [Read_more]

Cuomo AWOL on budget deficit by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

The Cuomo administration has admitted there is a “structural imbalance” in its massive Medicaid budget, which means the Empire State’s biggest single government program is spending beyond its means.

So, what does Gov. Andrew Cuomo plan to do about it? Some hint of the answer might be forthcoming in a midyear financial update — whenever, that is, Cuomo gets around to issuing one as required by law.

That report is now two weeks overdue. [Read_more]

Mid-year mystery by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo has kept his perfect record of consistently ignoring the statutory deadline for issuing a mid-year financial plan update. [Read_more]

Hearing Footsteps by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Is the city’s biggest bank getting ready to flee? That worrisome question flared up this week following a Bloomberg News report that JPMorgan Chase & Co. — the largest private employer still based in the city — may move thousands of jobs from New York to its other outposts, including in Texas, Ohio and Delaware.

In fact, although the bank itself didn’t officially comment, it seems clear the reality is not so dire. JPMorgan isn’t abandoning its ancestral home — not yet, anyway. [Read_more]

NYSTRS (barely) nudges its rate by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The board of the New York State Teacher Retirement System this week voted to reduce the pension plan's assumed rate of return on investments from 7.25 percent to 7.10 percent, which is (a) a step in the right direction, and (b) still unrealistically high.

The new projected return assumption, used as the discount rate for calculating and funding long-term teacher pension liabilities, matches NYSTRS' actual return on investments during the fiscal year ended June 30, which fell 0.15 percent short of the previous target. [Read_more]

Big bucks, no impact by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The billions of dollars funneled from New York's treasury to movie and TV producers had no statistically significant impact on the industry's employment in the Empire State through 2017, according to a new multi-state study of such tax incentives. [Read_more]

SALT suit swept aside by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

In what could rank among the least surprising federal court rulings of this or any year, a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan has rejected New York's constitutional challenge to the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap in the new federal tax law. [Read_more]

A flawed Fed wage analysis by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have issued an analysis suggesting that New York's minimum wage increases from 2013 to 2018 had little impact on employment in counties bordering on Pennsylvania.

The Fed's economists compared employment in two low-wage sectors in the 19 contiguous border counties of New York and Pennsylvania—implicitly assuming that the counties as a group must be comparable because they are next to one another. [Read_more]

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]
1 2 42