Work from E.J. McMahon

Squeezing NY’s golden geese by E.J. McMahon |  | Commentary

Disentangled from his rambling and often hyper-partisan State of the State Address, the fiscal basics of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget largely amount to more of the same policies he has pursued in the past — for better and worse. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s budget: a fiscal first take by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Disentangled from the politically turbocharged, high-volume rhetoric of his State of the State message, the first Executive Budget of Governor Andrew Cuomo's third term is largely a stay-the-course affair—for better and worse. [Read_more]

Same old Senate (GOP) by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Getting the jump on Governor Andrew's Cuomo's budget presentation, the much-diminished state Senate Republican conference today issued a counter-budget plan—which doesn't even begin to add up.

Lead elements of the "Real Solutions" plan from the Senate GOP Minority include "forcefully rejecting new taxes and fees" and "fighting" for a permanent property tax cap as well as a statutory state spending cap. [Read_more]

AOC tax plan would be bad for NY by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

The prospect of a 70 percent top federal income tax rate, floated by newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on “60 Minutes” over the weekend, struck a nerve across the political spectrum.

But Albany Democrats should think twice before cheering her on — because New York, in particular, would have a lot to lose from a return to confiscatory federal taxes on higher earners. [Read_more]

AOC’s 70% hit on NY by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The prospect of a 70 percent top federal income tax rate, as floated by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a TV interview, seems to have struck a nerve across the political spectrum. But whether she realizes it or not, her home state of New York would have a lot to lose from a return to nearly confiscatory federal tax rates on high earners. [Read_more]

NY’s job growth divide continues by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's latest employment data continue to show a lopsided divide between upstate and downstate.

As of November, the Empire State added 114,600 private-sector jobs on a year-over-year basis—a 1.4 percent increase during a period when private employment nationally grew by 1.9 percent, or one-third faster rate—according the monthly jobs report released today by the state Labor Department. [Read_more]

Will Cuomo stand his ground? by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Getting a jump on the arrival of the Democrats’ big new Senate majority in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week delivered a preview of his annual State of the State Address. He used it to remind his fellow Democrats of the many areas where they agree — but also to draw a few lines he won’t cross. [Read_more]

Suburban Dems’ first move should be to extend the property tax cap by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Urban progressives took over the New York state Senate in November, but the body’s biggest swing group will be suburban Democrats. These Democrats will need to prove themselves to their voters, many of them homeowners in places like Long Island and West­­chester.

The most valuable deliverable for the nascent suburban caucus will be a permanent extension of Gov. Cuomo’s property-tax cap. [Read_more]

Blame unions for New York’s pricey giveaway to Amazon by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

The state-city deal to bring one of Amazon’s two new headquarters to Long Island City might at least have provided New York City with another big benefit—a much-needed model of advanced, efficient building practices. After all, Amazon isn’t just a big corporation: It’s widely admired as a global leader in technological innovation.

Instead, it appears the deal will ensure that Amazon is saddled with the same arcane and outmoded construction-union work rules and compensation levels that have saddled New York City with the nation’s highest urban construction costs. [Read_more]

State $hortfalls shrinking by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State's budget outlook for fiscal 2020 is improving, according to the Mid-Year Financial Plan update issued today by Governor Cuomo's Division of the Budget (DOB)

The Mid-Year Update—released 10 days past the Oct. 30 deadline, keeping alive the Governor's perfect record of annual tardiness—pegs the budget gap at $3.070 billion for the fiscal year that starts next April 1.  That's down from $4.027 billion as of the end of the first fiscal quarter. [Read_more]

Key Cuomo budget update late—again by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

How big are the fiscal challenges faced by New York State in second half of its 2019 fiscal year? Are tax receipts and spending living up with projections? What's the outlook for the next few years?

We don't know—because, for an eighth consecutive year, Governor Andrew Cuomo has missed the statutory deadline for producing a Mid-Year Financial Plan Update. [Read_more]

Cuomo neglects New York’s highways by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to campaign for re-election as a master builder of new infrastructure has been undermined by headlines about New York City’s crumbling subway system. Meanwhile, much less public and political attention is being paid to his management of another major transportation asset: the New York state highway system. [Read_more]

NYC’s high-income tax habit by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The highest earning one percent of New York City residents generated 43 percent of city income taxes and 51 percent of the New York State income taxes collected from individuals  living in the city as of 2016, according to newly released data from the Independent Budget Office (IBO).

The IBO's latest tax liability estimates highlight once again New York's heavy dependence on the top 1 percent, for which the income cut point as of 2016 was $713,706. [Read_more]

Soaking the rich—or not by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State's so-called millionaire tax, temporarily raising the state's top income tax rate to 8.82 percent from the permanent law limit of 6.85 percent, is next scheduled to expire at the end of 2019. The added tax generates roughly $4.5 billion a year, about 9 percent of net personal income tax revenues, making New York more dependent than ever on the highest-earning one percent of its taxpayers.

The future of the tax has now emerged as an issue in the gubernatorial campaign. [Read_more]

The new Tappan Zee shows the best—and the worst—of Cuomo by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

This weekend, just days ahead of a primary that polls say he’ll win handily, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will take the wheel of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s refurbished 1932 Packard for a celebratory drive across the replacement for the old Tappan Zee Bridge. [Read_more]

NY’s leaky gas taxes by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

When motorists in New York top off their gas tanks this Labor Day weekend, they’ll be paying an average of about 45 cents per gallon in state and local fuel taxes—the 5th highest total in the nation, and second highest in the Northeast. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s misleading labor stats by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

When it comes to rhetorical use of upstate New York unemployment statistics, Governor Cuomo is consistent. Unfortunately, he's consistently misleading.

The latest example came at today's ribbon-cutting today for the new 136,000-square-foot Expo Center at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse, where Cuomo delivered a roughly 25-minute stream-of-consciousness riff that focused on what he portrayed as an economic turnaround in upstate and the Syracuse area. [Read_more]

Albany’s OPEB iceberg gets bigger by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's unfunded liability for state government retiree health coverage has reached $90.5 billion—an increase of $3 billion over last year's estimate, and nearly $13 billion in just two years, according to the just-released First Quarterly Update to the state's FY 2019 Financial Plan.

The liability for other post-employment benefits, or OPEB, reflects the net present value of continuing state health insurance coverage available to all employees who retire directly from a state government payroll after at least 10 years of service. [Read_more]

Here comes federal “Tax Reform 2.0” by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Congressional Republicans today unveiled a summary of their plans for permanently extending last year's federal income tax cuts—presumably (but not explicitly) subsidized by a permanent $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. [Read_more]

More on that flaky SALT suit by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The New York-led multi-state lawsuit challenging the new federal tax law is not as weak as you might have heard.

If anything, it's even worse—a 141-page mashup of half-baked numbers, dubious factual assertions and (largely well-founded) political arguments masquerading as constitutional jurisprudence. [Read_more]

A SALT cap surprise (so far) by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The newly enacted federal income law provision limiting state and local tax (SALT) deductions "is likely to substantially decrease home values" in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey.

That's a key claim of the lawsuit filed by the four states against the Trump administration today with the goal of having the $10,000 SALT deduction cap declared unconstitutional. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion was beyond corrupt by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

The overarching scandal here wasn’t bid-rigging or the pay-to-play pattern in the developers’ contributions to the governor’s reelection campaign. At the root was a simply awful public policy — corporate welfare on steroids — that neither Cuomo nor most of his critics have definitively renounced, even now. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s upstate hype continues by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo frequently asserts that his policies have ignited an economic turnaround in upstate New York, and he's been known to cherry-pick numbers to back himself up. He was at it again during a swing through the Mohawk Valley earlier this week—and, once again, the statistical cherries were in bloom. [Read_more]
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