Media Coverage

Forced to give up a total of $400 million from their budgets, agencies have conserved cash in less than extreme ways: for example, putting a freeze on new BlackBerry purchases, relying more heavily on teleconferencing, limiting requests for outside counsel, or passing more costs down to the county level. Virtually all of the state's more than 200,000 employees get to keep their jobs. To cut down on personnel costs, agencies are limiting new hires to "critical functions" or slightly reducing payrolls through attrition. "This has been an exercise in painless paring," a fiscal analyst for the Manhattan Institute, E.J. McMahon, said. Read More

ALBANY - During the tail end of his 14 years as Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno often reminded people he had fattened up the Capital Region. "I was there for 18 years watching dollars flow to New York City and flow to Long Island," Bruno s Read More

New York City officials are bracing for increased pressure on the budget as the city's pension funds are reeling from the credit crisis and posting billions of dollars in losses. In the nine months leading up to March 31, the city's five pension f Read More

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson took one more chance this week to distance himself from the strategy of his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, the man he ran alongside nearly two years ago. “Trying to embarrass people, trying to intimidate people, tr Read More

ALBANY — A state commission urged the governor on Monday to cap local property tax increases at 4 percent a year as part of a preliminary proposal aimed at reducing New York’s local tax burden, among the highest in the nation. But with the pro Read More

In 1980, at the peak of the stagflation-inspired tax revolt that had started in California, voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot initiative called Proposition 21/2. The statute capped local property taxes at 2.5% of real value of taxable propert Read More

The lawmaker behind the latest effort in Albany to sweeten public employee pensions is a 59-year-old of Brooklyn who collects toy trains, writes restaurant reviews, and aspires to run for Congress. Even at a time when state fiscal watchers warn of Read More

A red-faced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday ordered new cost estimates on union-backed legislation after it was revealed that phony numbers were being used to artificially lower the projections. The new estimates of the cost to taxpayers Read More

New York's largest public-sector union, the Civil Service Employees Association, is picking the lock on the state treasury. And cynical Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is happy to help. CSEA, among others, is trying to shield public-sector ret Read More

A high-profile state commission on property taxes appears headed toward a consensus that would recommend capping school district property tax increases at a rate of growth between 3 and 4 percentage points and giving voters the power to override a ce Read More

NEW YORK -- The Eyewitness News Investigators took a close look at how state lawmakers are spending your tax dollars at a time when we can least afford it. Hundreds of millions of dollars in political pork, handed out while New York's deficit clim Read More

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.