Month: May 2012

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) litigation of 1993-2006 established the principle that New York State is constitutionally obligated to ensure funding of a “sound, basic education” for pupils in New York City schools. Today, the state’s highest court cleared the way for a lawsuit claiming that funding levels for about a dozen of New York’s small city school districts doesn’t meet that requirement. Read More

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 100 times: the average annual benefit paid by the state pension system in 2011 was $19,151 — “not a big amount for someone whose [sic] gave a lifetime of service,” as the Public Employees Federation (PEF) puts it in a letter and blast fax to state legislators. Read More

Perhaps the most consequential proposed legislation to fly almost completely under news media radar at the end of session has been a bipartisan bill that would amend and upgrade Kendra’s Law, which allows judges in certain situations to force people with serious mental illness to undergo treatment. Read More

The slow-motion process of developing state regulations to allow natural gas hydro-fracking in upstate New York seems to have reached stall speed, now that Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered up a new health impact review that could force the Department of Environmental Conservation to miss a Nov. 29 deadline for issuing fracking rules. Read More

The weekly City and State opens its feature on the minimum wage issue with a portrait of Michelle Dawkins, who rises at 2:30 a.m. to earn $7.25 an hour ferrying wheelchair-bound passengers among the terminals at JFK airport. Assuming she is able to work 40 hours a week without a sick day, Dawkins “will make $15,080 over the course of a year,” the article says. Read More

Recent trends on Wall Street indicate that public pension funds with fiscal years ending June 30 probably missed their rate-of-return targets for 2012. I delve into one plan in particular — the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System — on the editorial blog at Newsday. 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.