E.J. McMahon

Senior Fellow

Edmund J. McMahon is the Empire Center’s founder and a senior fellow.

McMahon’s writing and research focuses on improving New York’s economic competitiveness and promoting greater transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility in state and local government. He has authored or co-authored major studies on public pension reform, collective bargaining, population migration, budget trends and tax policy in New York. His influential “Blueprint for a Better Budget,” published in January 2010, featured a number of recommendations subsequently implemented under Governors David Paterson and Andrew Cuomo. McMahon also was a leading advocate of an across-the-board cap on property taxes in New York before it was enacted at Governor Cuomo’s initiative in 2011.

McMahon has published numerous articles and essays in publications including the Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesBarron’s, the Public Interest, the New York Post, the New York Daily NewsNewsday and the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. His frequent radio and TV interviews have included appearances on CNBC, Fox News Channel and Bloomberg News, as well as on regional cable and broadcast outlets throughout New York State.

McMahon’s professional background includes nearly 30 years as an Albany-based analyst and close observer of New York State government. As chief fiscal advisor to the Assembly Republican Conference in the early 1990s, he drafted a personal income tax reform plan that would become the basis for historic tax cuts enacted under Governor George E. Pataki. Previously, as research director of the Public Policy Institute, he worked on the Institute’s counter-budget proposals and developed the template for New York’s school report cards. He also served as a deputy commissioner in the state Department of Taxation and Finance and as a vice chancellor of the State University of New York.

McMahon is also an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, which he joined in June 2000. In January 2005, he opened the Institute’s Albany-based Empire Center project, which became an independent nonprofit think tank in 2013. He was the Empire Center’s first president and became research director in the fall of 2016.

Earlier in his career, he was a staff writer and columnist for the Albany Times Union and The Knickerbocker News.

McMahon is a graduate of Villanova University.

Latest Work

New York City's World War II-rooted "housing emergency" is now officially indefinite—and has spread, potentially, to every corner of New York State. But the potential negative impacts of the law won't be limited to the Big Apple. The law is likely to have a chilling effect on prospects for multifamily investment and development in struggling communities across New York—especially upstate. Read More

There's good news and bad news about Rochester schools from a new study comparing the variation in educational quality within urban educational systems. The good news: measured by standardized pupil proficiency scores, there's only an 8.6 percentage point gap between good and bad schools in Rochester. The bad news: even Rochester's good schools—those in the 75th percentile—have the lowest proficiency scores among the 68 largest urban school systems in the country. Read More

New York’s AFL-CIO has issued a statement blasting the “misinformation campaign” by business groups fighting organized labor’s push to impose union pay levels on private developments receiving public subsidies. There is, indeed, plenty of misinformation wafting around this issue—but virtually all of it originated  in the union camp. Read More

This year marks the 90th anniversary of New York State’s first Executive Budget, presented by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt in January 1929. Constitutional amendments establishing the Executive Budget process had been approved by New York voters in November 1927, capping a more than decade-long bipartisan effort to bring order to what had been a shambolic and fiscally profligate legislative budget process. Read More

Today's jobs report from the state Labor Department carried the usual "Jobs at All-Time High" headline (when the "high" disappears, think recession).   Also as usual, the April numbers showed a wide regional variation in private job creation rates around the state—and New York as a whole continues to trail employment growth nationally. Read More

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Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
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Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

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.