Work from Ken Girardin

Assembly bolsters govt unions by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

By an overwhelming margin, the state Assembly has approved a bill designed to partially inoculate New York’s government unions against a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling ending the unions’ ability to extract dues-like “fees” from employees. [Read_more]

Flanagan would reduce nuke subsidies by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s massive ratepayer subsidy of aging upstate nuclear power plants would be significantly modified under a bill just introduced by Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan. [Read_more]

Bill would smash gov’t worker rights by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Legislation introduced by the politically potent state Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) with Republican support would scrap a decades-old worker protection and make it more difficult for government employees to change their mind about paying dues to a labor union. [Read_more]

Tax Cap = Budget OKs by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The tax cap effect was on full display in yesterday’s school budget voting.

School budgets were approved at a record-high rate of 99.3 percent, adding to evidence that districts can live within a property tax cap set at either 2 percent or the prior year’s average rate of inflation, whichever is less. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s self-serving SEQR streamline by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The Cuomo administration has proposed modifications to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), which has long hindered growth and development in New York State.

While the changes under consideration by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would represent at least one important step in a pro-growth direction, the proposed tweaks to SEQR would also clear a smoother path for key Cuomo priorities, such as the development of vast solar panel farms and wind turbine installations required by the governor’s renewable energy push. And in some other respects, the proposed SEQR changes would create even more development red tape. [Read_more]

START-UP melts down by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

START-UP NY lost almost as many new job commitments as it added during 2016, signaling the end may be near for the economic development program that Governor Andrew Cuomo once touted as “the greatest economic savior” for upstate New York. [Read_more]

Defund push misfires by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Calls to “defund” New York’s SAFE Act gun-control law have become standard fare during the budget process—but the goal is completely impractical. [Read_more]

Cuomo reins in some pork by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget makes important changes to several secretive slush funds first brought to light by the Empire Center. [Read_more]

Governor signs FOIL fix by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that marks the most substantial improvement to the Freedom of Information Law in years, limiting the amount of time that public entities can stall a FOIL request after a judge has ordered the release of public records. [Read_more]

START-UP NY stalls by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The latest progress report from START-UP NY shows it’s losing participants almost as quickly as it’s adding them. [Read_more]

Teachout’s overruled tax cap claim by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

New York’s local property tax cap has become an issue in a hotly contested Hudson Valley congressional race, where a specious anti-cap argument rejected by state courts has been revived by the Democratic candidate, Zephyr Teachout. [Read_more]

Buffalo’s murky teacher pact by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Some of New York’s worst tendencies in bargaining with government unions were on display yesterday in Buffalo—even before the school board illegally took things behind closed doors. [Read_more]

“Czar” exiles energy facts by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy czar isn’t letting facts get in the way of attacking the growing number of dissenters who challenge Cuomo’s new Clean Energy Standard. [Read_more]

Your coming NYS electric-bill hit by Ken Girardin |  | New York Post

In what amounts to an unlegislated state tax hike, New York's already-high electricity rates are poised to go even higher. That’s because, essentially at Gov. Cuomo’s order, the state Public Service Commission will require electric utilities to both subsidize money-losing upstate nuclear plants and buy power from “renewable” energy sources, mainly solar and wind-generated. [Read_more]

Green Overload by Ken Girardin and Annette Brocks |  | Reports

New York's new Clean Energy Standard has three major shortcomings: high cost, questionable feasibility and low impact. [Read_more]

Has START-UP NY peaked? by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

START-UP NY, New York’s signature economic development program, made headlines for creating just 408 jobs in its first two years of operations. However, bigger disappointments may lie ahead. [Read_more]

Pols aim for design-build by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Some of New York State’s major transportation infrastructure projects are now benefiting from expanded use of the design-build process—but a costly pro-union rider has been attached to proposed legislation extending design-build authorization to public works financed by New York City, and could set a troubling precedent. [Read_more]

Will Albany bust the cap? by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

With just three work days remaining in the legislative session, a number of bills that would loosen the property-tax cap await consideration in both houses. The pending legislative efforts range from small modifications to the cap formula to allow more spending without triggering the cap’s supermajority requirement, to doing away with the supermajority requirement altogether. [Read_more]

The smudgy green in biodiesel by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The state Senate is considering a measure to force New Yorkers to buy heating oil blended with biodiesel—but it’s not the kind of environmentally friendly, “green” policy its supporters would have you believe. [Read_more]

The tax cap works, again by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Twenty-nine of the 37 districts that sought to override the property tax cap were successful in yesterday’s school budget votes, as the majority of districts elected to limit their tax increases to the cap itself. [Read_more]

Board set to release SolarCity cash by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

A state oversight board this week is set to green-light a $486 million payment to the SUNY Polytechnic real estate subsidiary that is at the heart of the federal probe into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. [Read_more]