E.J. McMahon

Senior Fellow

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

The Cuomo administration has admitted there is a “structural imbalance” in its massive Medicaid budget, which means the Empire State’s biggest single government program is spending beyond its means. So, what does Gov. Andrew Cuomo plan to do about it? Some hint of the answer might be forthcoming in a midyear financial update — whenever, that is, Cuomo gets around to issuing one as required by law. That report is now two weeks overdue. Read More

Is the city’s biggest bank getting ready to flee? That worrisome question flared up this week following a Bloomberg News report that JPMorgan Chase & Co. — the largest private employer still based in the city — may move thousands of jobs from New York to its other outposts, including in Texas, Ohio and Delaware. In fact, although the bank itself didn’t officially comment, it seems clear the reality is not so dire. JPMorgan isn’t abandoning its ancestral home — not yet, anyway. Read More

The board of the New York State Teacher Retirement System this week voted to reduce the pension plan's assumed rate of return on investments from 7.25 percent to 7.10 percent, which is (a) a step in the right direction, and (b) still unrealistically high. The new projected return assumption, used as the discount rate for calculating and funding long-term teacher pension liabilities, matches NYSTRS' actual return on investments during the fiscal year ended June 30, which fell 0.15 percent short of the previous target. Read More

The billions of dollars funneled from New York's treasury to movie and TV producers had no statistically significant impact on the industry's employment in the Empire State through 2017, according to a new multi-state study of such tax incentives. Read More

In what could rank among the least surprising federal court rulings of this or any year, a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan has rejected New York's constitutional challenge to the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap in the new federal tax law. Read More

Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have issued an analysis suggesting that New York's minimum wage increases from 2013 to 2018 had little impact on employment in counties bordering on Pennsylvania. The Fed's economists compared employment in two low-wage sectors in the 19 contiguous border counties of New York and Pennsylvania—implicitly assuming that the counties as a group must be comparable because they are next to one another. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

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.