The weak population numbers for upstate continues a pattern that has played out for at least a decade, said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany think tank.
"The rural areas are the weakest," McMahon said. "The upstate decline is continuing. It's not much different from the picture we have been seeing and the same components are causing it: the combination of domestic migration losses in every county but two (Saratoga and Ontario), low foreign immigration and more births than deaths in a lot of rural counties. You put that all together and you have a population decline."
E.J. McMahon, founder of the fiscally conservative Empire Center think tank, said Cuomo has conflated the impact on the rich New Yorkers with how the federal tax reforms affected middle-class New Yorkers.
For the most part, New Yorkers saw a decrease in taxes because of the federal changes, he said.
The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon similarly noted he has worn his belt through airport security “about a hundred times without taking it off or tripping anything,” but is still required to take it off while entering the Capitol.
“It’s easy for people who want this, which is mainly people in government, to dismiss this as just carping over an inconvenience for people who don’t want to wait in line,” he said. “But it sends a very important and ultimately demeaning message to the public.”
E.J. McMahon, the research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, said the current law works to rein in spending and chided elected officials for posturing after voting for the omnibus bill they are deriding. Both Barnwell and Gianaris voted for the so-called “big ugly” bill.
The Affordable Care Act “has been a multibillion dollar source of money for the New York health care industry,” Hammond said.
A recent analysis by the Empire Center shows most Central New York hospitals saw big increases in Medicaid revenues after the Affordable Care Act allowed the state to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Taxpayers can chalk up a victory thanks to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s successful effort to make the property tax cap permanent. The 2011 law, which could have expired in mid-2020, limits the annual growth in property tax levies to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The fiscally conservative Empire Center says the 8-year-old law has saved New Yorkers billions of dollars in tax payments.
Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, said that the state has legitimate reasons for improving the way the home-care program is run and reeling in its fiscal intermediaries.
The Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank, has repeatedly highlighted the opaque process by which the state Department of Labor calculates prevailing wage in different regions and raised questions about the accuracy of the calculations. The group recently noted that the state “refused to publicly release copies of the construction union contracts and pay scales it uses as the basis for its prevailing wage calculation.”