Month: May 2012

The New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) has just informed school districts across the state that their teacher pension contribution rates for the 2013-14 school year will rise from the current 11.84 percent to between 15.5 and 16.5 percent of salaries — which would translate into an additional taxpayer costs totaling $539 million to $686 million, based on the latest available teacher payroll figures. Read More

The budgetary problems of bigger New York localities, such as Yonkers, tend to dominate the headlines — but contenders for the dubious distinction of most financially troubled municipality in the Empire State would also include Schenectady... Read More

An alert reader has provided the answer to a question posed on this blog yesterday: how or where did the state’s largest public employee union come up with its estimate that Governor Cuomo’s proposed Tier 6 pension plan will “reduce benefits” by 40 percent? Read More

The Citizens Budget Commission has posted some nifty charts breaking out the difference between New York State and the U.S. averages for different categories of public elementary and secondary school spending. One noteworthy data point: between 1999 and 2009, spending per pupil on employee benefits for instructional staff rose 169 percent in New York... Read More

Following through on Speaker Silver’s promise earlier this month, the Assembly is reportedly about to introduce a bill raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour, with automatic increases thereafter in line with the cost of living. As we’ve noted here before, this is a swell way to reduce job opportunities for low-skilled, entry-level workers — and it’s not a very effective way of helping the working poor, either. Read More

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has joined Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in advocating an increase in the state minimum wage. Unlike Silver, Bloomberg in his State of the City message was at least willing to acknowledge that the minimum wage discourages hiring–specifically, that it “can reduce youth employment.” His solution? Read More

Governor Cuomo’s 2012-13 budget, to be presented later today, will command media attention for the rest of the week. Advance reports on his modified pension reform proposal are especially promising. Meanwhile, there’s a (fiscally) cost-free approach to helping local governments and school districts alleviate their budget problems: repealing the Triborough Amendment. 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.