“This has been one of the worst developments in the political process here in New York in modern history,” said E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy think tank and a former aide to Gov. George Pataki. “It really is corrosive of accountability and democracy and, implicitly, the constitution prohibits it.”
The state Legislature is considering a host of health care-related bills at the end of the session. But the Empire Center is deeply suspicious of some of them. Empire Center's Director of Health Policy Bill Hammond recently warned that the Legislature may be trying to act too fast, without considering all the consequences.
"Ninety-three hospitals would lose more than 10 percent of revenue," said Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative Albany think tank.
E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank, questioned the need for these projects. His organization found recent SAM allocations paid for projects he deemed frivolous such as a skate park and a local highway garage. “It’s this huge mutual back-scratching,” he said.
Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and EJ McMahon, Founder and Research Director of the Empire Center, shared their insights into the effects of the legislation and the political implications.
The heightened focus on overtime stems from an April report by the Albany-based nonprofit Empire Center for Public Policy that revealed several of the MTA’s top union earners had more than doubled their take-home pay through overtime. LIRR chief measurement officer Thomas Caputo nearly quadrupled his, making $344,147 in overtime on top of his base salary of $117,499. Caputo, who has not formally been accused of any wrongdoing, retired in April.
Of the $508 million in pork awarded last year, most of it came from the State and Municipal Facilities program, which is widely derided as legislative slush fund, according to an analysis by the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy.
"You don't need to throw another regulatory obstacle on upstate New York," said E.J. McMahon, research director for the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy.