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.

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Latest Work

After months of behind-the-scenes work, the state Department of Taxation and Finance is circulating a "discussion draft" of proposed bill language creating a new form of state tax designed to preserve some federal income tax deductibility for state and local taxes (SALT) paid by partners in unincorporated firms. Read More

New York's newly enacted state budget for the fiscal year that started April 1 is balanced with higher-than-anticipated tax receipts, but out-year projected budget gaps have grown significantly larger, according to quarterly financial plan update issued late Friday afternoon by Governor Cuomo's Division of the Budget (DOB). Read More

Nearly two-thirds of New York State’s tax receipts are now generated by the personal income tax, or PIT. As a result, the state is very heavily reliant on highest-earning 1 percent of New York taxpayers—whose effective income tax rates have increased sharply under the new federal tax law capping state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Read More

Cuomo has further boosted the state’s already heavy reliance on taxes paid by income millionaires. This has made Albany’s revenue base more fragile and volatile — a problem aggravated by the new federal cap on state and local tax deductions, which effectively raises total tax rates for New York’s highest earners. 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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