Ken Girardin

Director of Research

Ken Girardin is the Director of Research at the Empire Center, where his work focuses on organized labor’s effect and influence on state and local government 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

The hastily approved raise for New York’s governor had an unintended consequence: sweetening the Tier 6 pension plan enacted in 2012 and saddling taxpayers with an untold amount of higher pension costs. Read More

When New York’s 2 percent cap on local property tax levies was about to become law in June 2011, the statewide teachers union warned of an apocalypse just around the corner. Eight years later, New York’s school districts are better funded than ever—still atop national expenditure rankings, now laying out nearly 90 percent more per pupil than the 50-state average. But the rise in school property taxes statewide has slowed by more than two-thirds, to an average of 1.8 percent a year, saving homeowners and businesses billions of dollars in 2018 alone.   Read More

Government unions aren’t letting the facts get in the way of their opposition to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push for a permanent property tax cap. Testifying in Albany this month on Cuomo’s FY20 Executive Budget, union leaders made a number of misrepresentations regarding the cap, which since 2011 has slowed the growth of property taxes outside New York City. Read More

New York public university faculty members and graduate assistants are choosing not to pay union dues at a higher rate than any other major group of state government employees Read More

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