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

Budget deficit? What budget deficit? With today’s pending recommendation from the Board of Regents, New York's education establishment is united in proposing that state aid to America's best-funded preK-12 public school system be increased next year by at least $2 billion. The figure is nearly double the amount projected in Governor Cuomo's financial plan—which showed the state is running deeply in the red and facing its largest budget shortfall since the Great Recession. Read More

To fight crime and fare evasion in New York City subways, the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to hire 500 more officers for its police department—an unprecedented expansion of what's already one of the largest police forces based in New York State. As of 2018, the MTA Police employed a total of 773 officers, including new hires and officers who retired or otherwise left the payroll during the year, according to records posted at SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center's transparency website.  MTA Police pay averaged $131,959, including average overtime of $34,936.  The number of MTA Police officers was the highest in at least six years; in 2013, there 99 fewer total officers employed by the department. Read More

Newly released federal data on personal income growth last year point to the continued economic weakness of upstate New York. Measured in current dollars, unadjusted for inflation, personal income nationally increased 5.6 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Affairs (BEA). Read More

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

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CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
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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.