The soaring cost of New York State's public pension systems can be permanently controlled by shifting to the sort of employer-subsidized individual retirement plans now popular in the private sector, according to an updated study of the state's pension structure by the Empire Center for Public Policy. [Read_more]
Besieged by the related problems of soaring Medicaid and private health-insurance costs, a growing number of states are enacting innovative programs to curb expenses, improve services and expand access to affordable health care. Some of the nation’s leading health policy experts will gather at an Empire Center policy forum in Albany on Sept. 26 to share insights and ideas that might offer models for New York State. [Read_more]
Even if the Legislature doesn't add to Governor George Pataki's budget proposal, the state spending increase during his final term will be the largest since Mario Cuomo's second term in the late 1980s, according to the Empire Center's overview of the 2006-07 Executive Budget.
After adjusting for a shift of aid payments between the current fiscal year and the coming year, the Empire Center report estimates the governor's proposed state funds spending increase for fiscal 2006-07 comes to just over 7 percent, or two and a half times the projected inflation rate. Assuming this figure holds, the total State Funds budget increase since fiscal 2002-03 will be 28 percent, or double the inflation rate, the report says. [Read_more]
New York State can save money on special education by shifting to a new funding system and can improve parental satisfaction with special education programs by offering a universal voucher for disabled students, according to a report issued today by the Empire Center for Public Policy. [Read_more]