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

New York State fell a little further off the national pace of private-sector job creation in October, based on a comparison of preliminary year-to-year estimates updated today by the state Labor Department. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget staff has further reduced the state's revenue estimates for the current year and the three following years, adding to projected potential shortfalls during the period. Read More

For a sixth consecutive year, Governor Andrew Cuomo is behind schedule in issuing the state's Mid-Year Financial Plan Update—maintaining his perfect record of never once complying with the state Finance Law provision requiring such a report by Oct. 30. Read More

The New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS) will reduce its pension contribution rates for a third consecutive year in 2017-18, even though the pension fund's investment returns came in well below its target rate in fiscal 2016. Read More

Nearly all of New York State's year-to-year private sector employment growth remains concentrated in New York City and its suburbs, according to the latest state Labor Department statistics. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York's second largest union of state government employees just announced a tentative contract deal that, if ultimately extended to all state workers, could add roughly $1.5 billion in salary costs to New York's budget by fiscal 2019. Cuomo said the state had agreed to raise salaries for Public Employees Federation (PEF) members by 2 percent a year over three years, or a cumulative 6.12 percent, starting in the current fiscal year. Read More