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

By an overwhelming margin, the state Assembly has approved a bill designed to partially inoculate New York’s government unions against a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling ending the unions’ ability to extract dues-like “fees” from employees. Read More

Legislation introduced by the politically potent state Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) with Republican support would scrap a decades-old worker protection and make it more difficult for government employees to change their mind about paying dues to a labor union. Read More

The tax cap effect was on full display in yesterday’s school budget voting. School budgets were approved at a record-high rate of 99.3 percent, adding to evidence that districts can live within a property tax cap set at either 2 percent or the prior year’s average rate of inflation, whichever is less. Read More

The Cuomo administration has proposed modifications to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), which has long hindered growth and development in New York State. While the changes under consideration by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would represent at least one important step in a pro-growth direction, the proposed tweaks to SEQR would also clear a smoother path for key Cuomo priorities, such as the development of vast solar panel farms and wind turbine installations required by the governor’s renewable energy push. And in some other respects, the proposed SEQR changes would create even more development red tape. Read More

START-UP NY lost almost as many new job commitments as it added during 2016, signaling the end may be near for the economic development program that Governor Andrew Cuomo once touted as “the greatest economic savior” for upstate New York. 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.