Observers of state government say the practice of loading up the governor's staff with people not officially on its payroll has been ongoing for decades. E.J. McMahon, research director of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, said it has quietly allowed governors to expand their staffs while escaping criticism for increasing their budgets. Still, the full extent has not been previously known. "It's an accountability and transparency issue," McMahon said. "It's done so that the Executive Chamber staff doesn't look so big. That's the only conceivable reason they'd do it." Read More
Month: November 2016
New York, in recent budget years, has been flush with surpluses -- extra money that has allowed for new spending on schools and economic development. But those days of easy spending may be coming to an end. "There's been a steady decline in personal income tax receipts relative to what was projected at the start of the fiscal year," said Empire Center President EJ McMahon. Read More
E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy has suggested Cuomo “is trying to put off paying the costs of a new bridge until he leaves office.” With no sort of public plan or explanation in view, that sounds about right. Read More
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
For most of the past year and a half, Gov. Cuomo has sought to make the 421-a affordable housing program both less effective and more wasteful, by mandating the use of higher-priced unionized construction workers on 421-a projects. Read More
New York may face its first major budget gaps since 2011 as tax revenues are estimated to be less than initially anticipated, state budget records this week showed. The looming budget gaps could be up to $2 billion in the next two years, which might influence state aid for schools and spending on programs proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "This is going to be acid test of his commitment to fiscal restraint," said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank. Read More
Bill Hammond, a writer specializing in Medicaid issues for the Empire Center’s NY Torch blog, said when he reviewed the budget, it confirmed his suspicion that the administration intentionally underestimated the cost to make it more palatable to taxpayers. Read More
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