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

When motorists in New York top off their gas tanks this Labor Day weekend, they’ll be paying an average of about 45 cents per gallon in state and local fuel taxes—the 5th highest total in the nation, and second highest in the Northeast. Read More

When it comes to rhetorical use of upstate New York unemployment statistics, Governor Cuomo is consistent. Unfortunately, he's consistently misleading. The latest example came at today's ribbon-cutting today for the new 136,000-square-foot Expo Center at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse, where Cuomo delivered a roughly 25-minute stream-of-consciousness riff that focused on what he portrayed as an economic turnaround in upstate and the Syracuse area. Read More

New York's unfunded liability for state government retiree health coverage has reached $90.5 billion—an increase of $3 billion over last year's estimate, and nearly $13 billion in just two years, according to the just-released First Quarterly Update to the state's FY 2019 Financial Plan. The liability for other post-employment benefits, or OPEB, reflects the net present value of continuing state health insurance coverage available to all employees who retire directly from a state government payroll after at least 10 years of service. Read More

Congressional Republicans today unveiled a summary of their plans for permanently extending last year's federal income tax cuts—presumably (but not explicitly) subsidized by a permanent $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Read More

The newly enacted federal income law provision limiting state and local tax (SALT) deductions "is likely to substantially decrease home values" in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey. That's a key claim of the lawsuit filed by the four states against the Trump administration today with the goal of having the $10,000 SALT deduction cap declared unconstitutional. Read More

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Empire Center for Public Policy
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Phone: 518-434-3100

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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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