Month: October 2018

The Empire Center, a fiscally-conservative government watchdog, said the cap should become permanent, something that Republicans always wanted but could never accomplish during their control of the state Senate. “Cuomo’s cap has curbed taxes by billions of dollars, compared to previous trends and especially in profligate school districts,” wrote Research Director E.J. McMahon last week. Read More

Bill Hammond, with the fiscal watchdog group the Empire Center, says there are a lot of unintended consequences that could result from a single-payer system in New York, including reduced revenues for hospitals, and the need for as much as $139 billion in new taxes, according to a study by the Rand Corporation. "There’s a lot of misconceptions about how single-payer works, there’s a lot of wishful thinking about how much money would be saved and how much better things would be," Hammond said. "That’s not to defend the current system, there’s a lot of things that are wrong with the current system." Read More

While lawmakers have focused their attention elsewhere, representatives of the construction industry have continued to highlight their opposition to prevailing wage requirements. These rules mean that contractors have to pay workers a minimum pay rate while working on publicly funded construction projects. Some have blamed such requirements for making construction in New York so expensive. A 2017 report from the Empire Center for Public Policy stated that prevailing wage requirement increase costs on public construction projects by as much as 25 percent. Read More

Empire Center for Public Policy's Bill Hammond, a longtime critic of the NY Health Act, argued in NY Torch, a public policy blog, that that the proposal to accommodate municipal workers "would seem to create a two-tiered system, with one set of rules for city employees, and another set for everyone else." He said that the proposed amendment would also undermine any projected healthcare savings for New York City. Read More

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in November, the lowest of any year on record dating back to 1976, according to the state's Labor Department, which released its monthly report Thursday. But a new report from the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think-tank based in Albany, attributes the low unemployment numbers in part to an exodus from upstate municipalities and shows the state lagging behind the national average in private sector job growth. Read More

And while the funding helps incentivize development in New York, it does little to address the underlying conditions in the state that hamper job growth, according to Ken Girardin, a policy analyst for the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy. "Subsidies are a great way for politicians to deflect attention from the hard choices needed to improve the business climate," he said, noting that five of the upstate regions had less economic activity last year than in the heart of the Great Recession in 2009. Read More

Sweetheart deals with labor unions, expensive “clean energy” schemes, sky-high school spending, and—last but never least—taxes, taxes and more taxes. Those were the subjects of the most-read posts on the Empire Center’s NYTorch blog in 2018. Read More

New York's latest employment data continue to show a lopsided divide between upstate and downstate. As of November, the Empire State added 114,600 private-sector jobs on a year-over-year basis—a 1.4 percent increase during a period when private employment nationally grew by 1.9 percent, or one-third faster rate—according the monthly jobs report released today by the state Labor Department. Read More