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

Last week's New York state budget approval process was even more rushed, secretive, confused and sloppy than usual—stretching through Good Friday and the first night of Passover into the predawn hours of Saturday, March 31—all in the name of meeting an ultimately inconsequential April 1 "deadline" for the start of the new fiscal year. Read More

Led by New York's Charles Schumer, U.S. Senate Democrats just unveiled a "Jobs and Infrastructure Plan" that would be financed disproportionately by Empire State taxpayers. To cover the 10-year, $1 trillion price-tag of their package, Senate Democrats would reverse several provisions of the newly enacted federal tax changes—including reductions in the top income tax rate and in the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Read More

The Cuomo administration has released a few more details of its plan to propose an optional payroll tax for New York employers as a way to preserve some of the state and local tax (SALT) deductions capped under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Read More

Gov. Andrew Cuomo began 2018 the way he ended 2017: demonizing Washington Republicans and fulminating against the newly enacted federal tax reform, especially its $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Two weeks after his State of the State message, Cuomo devoted a portion of his fiscal 2019 budget presentation to the same subject, pledging again to come up with a plan to restructure the code by shifting from an employee-paid to an employer-paid income-tax system. Read More

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Empire Center for Public Policy
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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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