E.J. McMahon

Senior Fellow and Founder

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'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

Getting a jump on the arrival of the Democrats’ big new Senate majority in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week delivered a preview of his annual State of the State Address. He used it to remind his fellow Democrats of the many areas where they agree — but also to draw a few lines he won’t cross. Read More

Urban progressives took over the New York state Senate in November, but the body’s biggest swing group will be suburban Democrats. These Democrats will need to prove themselves to their voters, many of them homeowners in places like Long Island and West­­chester. The most valuable deliverable for the nascent suburban caucus will be a permanent extension of Gov. Cuomo’s property-tax cap. Read More

The state-city deal to bring one of Amazon’s two new headquarters to Long Island City might at least have provided New York City with another big benefit—a much-needed model of advanced, efficient building practices. After all, Amazon isn’t just a big corporation: It’s widely admired as a global leader in technological innovation. Instead, it appears the deal will ensure that Amazon is saddled with the same arcane and outmoded construction-union work rules and compensation levels that have saddled New York City with the nation’s highest urban construction costs. Read More

New York State's budget outlook for fiscal 2020 is improving, according to the Mid-Year Financial Plan update issued today by Governor Cuomo's Division of the Budget (DOB) The Mid-Year Update—released 10 days past the Oct. 30 deadline, keeping alive the Governor's perfect record of annual tardiness—pegs the budget gap at $3.070 billion for the fiscal year that starts next April 1.  That's down from $4.027 billion as of the end of the first fiscal quarter. Read More

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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.

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