E.J. McMahon

Founding Senior Fellow

Edmund J. McMahon is the Empire Center’s founding 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 founding 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

The tax reform “framework” issued Wednesday by President Trump and congressional Republican leaders told us little we didn’t already know about their shared tax policy goals—while continuing to leave many key questions unanswered. Read More

New York's loss of residents to other states is a long-established and troubling trend. But the impact of out-migration on the Empire State's economy, and on personal income in particular, is another, more complicated story. Unfortunately, the annual release of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data on interstate taxpayer migration continues to inspire some wrongheaded conclusions on this score. Read More

On the heels of a strong investment return in 2017, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli just announced a slight reduction in taxpayer-funded pension rates for the state and its local governments. Read More

During his first six months in office, New York governor Andrew Cuomo pulled off something of a fiscal trifecta: closing a $10 billion state-budget gap without raising taxes, capping local-property-tax levies, and wringing concessions out of state-go Read More