The Essential Plan survives by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo’s budget makes no major change in the Essential Plan—a low-cost state-sponsored health plan—despite the loss of almost $1 billion in federal aid.

Cuomo’s magical tax thinking by E.J. McMahon | New York Post

The governor said he’d explore the feasiblity of “a major shift” of New York’s state tax burden from individuals (who will be losing federal deductions) to businesses (which will be keeping them), via a new statewide payroll tax on employers.

The idea might sound plausible on the surface. But on closer inspection, replacing even part of New York’s personal income tax (PIT) with a payroll tax would be fraught with mind-bending complications — and not very feasible at all.

Restructuring NY’s Taxes Sounds Good. Now for the Details. The New York Times

For Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the idea must seem like sweet payback for the pains inflicted on his state by the new federal tax plan: an elegant workaround whereby New York could replace its state income tax with a payroll tax and leave Washington, not Albany, on the hook for billions of dollars in lost revenue.

But like so many white-paper plans, the proposal — while still in its larval stage — is already running headlong into a barrage of practical questions about how precisely such a switcheroo might work.

“The more you think about this,” said E.J. McMahon, a conservative economist and founder of the Empire Center for Public Policy, “the more it makes your head spin.”

A tamper-prone drug ‘cap’ by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

An outside analysis of New York’s spending on prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients raises questions about how the Cuomo administration is enforcing a newly enacted cap on those costs.

Cuomo’s Yuletide veto gifts by E.J. McMahon | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo is ending the year on a strong pro-taxpayer note, vetoing union-backed legislation that would have blocked the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority from imposing pay freezes to balance the county budget.

Cuomo’s Essential dilemma by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

Federal officials have reportedly confirmed that they are cutting off a major portion of funding for New York’s Essential Plan, opening a roughly $1 billion hole in the state budget and raising new doubts about the future of a rapidly growing health insurance option for the working poor.