Ken Girardin

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Fellow

Ken Girardin is a fellow and director of strategic initiatives at the Empire Center. Since joining the Empire Center in 2014, his work has focused on key issues related to New York’s economic competitiveness including labor and energy policy.

Ken worked with E.J. McMahon to produce the first independent analysis of New York’s property tax cap, which demonstrated the cap’s effectiveness and boosted efforts to extend the cap and ultimately make it permanent. He also authored The Janus Stakes, a quantitative analysis of the influence New York’s public-sector unions have over public policy in the Empire State.

Ken has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. He previously worked in the New York State Legislature.

Latest Work

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill making it harder for government workers to escape labor unions, he said it was just “the first step of the resistance.” Translation: It wasn’t the last favor Cuomo hopes to do for New York’s powerful public-sector unions in anticipation of the coming US Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which could void state laws compelling government workers to pay dues-like agency fees to unions they choose not to join. Read More

When Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill making it harder for government workers to extricate themselves from labor unions, he said it was just “the first step of the resistance.” So, what will New York’s governor and lawmakers seek to do next for their public-sector union friends? Read More

New York's government unions collectively spent more on lobbying last year than the state's biggest trial lawyers, landlord, tobacco and hospital interests combined. And topping the list, as usual, was New York’s powerful conglomerate of public education unions. Read More

Buried in the state budget bills rushing towards passage under cover of Passover, Good Friday evening and the coming Easter holiday is the top item on the New York government unions’ wish list—a provision designed to trap public employees into paying union dues. Read More

For a second consecutive year, the state Assembly is poised to pass a union-backed bill that would make it harder for New York government employees to opt out of union membership. This time, at least, it may be debated first. Read More

The state Senate’s ruling majority coalition hopes state budget talks will include a “discussion about whether the definition of public work should be updated”—shorthand for whether costly union compensation packages should be imposed on a much larger number of projects subsidized directly or indirectly by taxpayers. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo has married his unrealistic renewable energy targets to his push to steer work to the building trades unions. The likely results: even higher costs—and even fewer projects. Read More

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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.