Delays, accidents, and other expenses caused by deficient, congested or unsafe roads and bridges cost New York drivers an added $20 billion a year, according to a recent study. The need for infrastructure investment is obvious– but even in an era of tight budgets, federal data indicate the Empire State is failing to get maximum value from its highway and bridge dollars. How do we compare to other states? Could we get more for less? Read More
Upstate New York has been declining economically for decades, relative to both the rest of the state and to the nation as a whole. Upstate cities, reeling from a significant long-term loss of jobs and people, are among New York's most fiscally distressed municipalities. What do the latest economic data tell us about the path of the upstate economy? What are the prospects for a revival of the region and its cities? To what extent might natural gas "fracking" boost growth? We invite you to join us for the presentation of a pair of Empire Center reports delving into those questions -- culminating in a keynote from an internationally recognized leader in entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth. Read More
Policymakers throughout New York are finding it increasingly difficult to balance their budgets in the face of a depressed economy. The newly enacted tax cap has helped shine a light on the unsustainable budgeting, compensation and spending practices that are plaguing New York’s municipalities. Read More
This forum focused on why long-term financial planning is essential for local governments and school districts, and how such plans can and should be implemented for counties, municipalities and school districts. Read More
New York has the nation's largest Medicaid program, serving over 5 million enrollees at a cost of $54 billion annually. But a small percentage of Medicaid patients, with chronic medical and behavioral health diseases account for a disproportionate share of the program's total spending. "Taking Ownership: The Patient's role in Medicaid" profiles some reforms largely overlooked in the state's redesign, healthcare experts from around the state participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Empire Center. Read More
A new state-sponsored campaign is promoting New York as "open for business." However, other indicators suggest the Empire State is still hobbled by a heavy tax and regulatroy burden. How have business conditions in New York improved? What further changes are needed to set the stage for an era of sustained long-term economic growth in the Empire State? Our event, "Is New York Competitive," explored these and other important questions to assess New York's outlook. Read More
This event explores the Empire Center's paper, "Optimal Option," focused on the popular Optional Retirement Plan offered for the past 48 years by the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY), including accounts administered through the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF). Read More
Tax-funded employer contributions to New York’s state and local government pension funds are about to rise sharply. What will be the impact on budgets, taxes and public services? Are New York’s public pensions adequately funded? What can be done to curb pension expenses while fairly balancing the interests of taxpayers and employees? The presentation of a new Empire Center report answers these questions -- culminating in a keynote from a Utah state lawmaker who has been a national leader in state pension reform. Read More
Employment statistics can tell us a lot about what’s going on in New York’s economy — but traditional government data don’t tell us much about the underlying forces driving job creation. Information on openings and closings, expansions and contractions, and interstate movements at the employer level has not been as readily available. Read More
With a budget shortfall of $12.5 billion projected for 2009-10, New York's state government faces its most significant fiscal crisis in decades. However, this is not just another cyclical downturn. What's left of Wall Street will be significantly leaner, less profitable, and more heavily regulated than the securities industry whose explosive growth fueled the expansion of state spending for much of the past 25 years. The Empire Center and the Center for Governmental Research explored these issues at a policy forum in Albany. Read More
While strikes and other job actions have become rare events, municipal and school officials say the Taylor Law--in combination with other public labor statutes--now unduly favors unions at taxpayer expense. The Empire Center explored whether Taylor Law reforms are needed at a policy forum. Read More
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