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 state’s current fiscal challenge is caused by excess spending, not insufficient taxes.  The governor’s projection of PIT receipts—which apparently have recovered from the post-tax reform disruption in the final quarter of fiscal 2019—assumes a steady continuing uptick in revenues across the next four years, despite the continuing phase-in of significant “middle class” income tax cuts through 2025.   But this could prove overly optimistic. Read More

Thanks to a strong third quarter, New York's state tax receipts through December were running $1.3 billion ahead of projections for the fiscal year that ends March 31, according to the latest monthly cash report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Read More

From a statewide perspective, New York’s economic performance since the end of the Great Recession hasn’t been especially outstanding, roughly equaling the U.S. averages for growth in private employment and GDP, while slightly trailing the national rate of increase in personal income since early 2009. But a closer look at the numbers reveals a tale of two New Yorks. Read More

Capping a week in which Governor Cuomo touted his "successful economic agenda," newly released federal estimates show New York's economy barely grew at all during the third quarter of 2019, ranking near the bottom of a 50-state list. Read More

New York has lost nearly 1.4 million residents to the rest of the country since 2010—and largely as a result of this outflow, the Empire State’s total population barely budged during the decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual update of population estimates. Read More

In his continuing effort to fill a slow-news holiday period with advance proposals from his upcoming 2020 State of the State message, Governor Cuomo today dusted off one of Albany's creakiest bipartisan infrastructure fantasies: high-speed passenger rail service. Read More

A year after completing its replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, and seven years after starting construction on the project, the state Thruway Authority has finally gotten around to proposing a schedule for raising the eastbound-only bridge toll. Read More

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Empire Center for Public Policy
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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.