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

New York City’s police department has come under criticism in recent days, with some city officials saying NYPD funding should be reduced. But many of the same New York City Council members parroting calls to “defund” the NYPD were just a year ago pushing Mayor Bill de Blasio to give city cops a big pay hike. It’s a reminder that New York’s elected officials, no matter how principled, routinely don’t want to say “no” to public-sector unions. Read More

In the wake of George Floyd's death under a kneeling Minneapolis police officer, some New York State lawmakers are renewing calls for legislation designed to uncover police disciplinary records. But less than a year ago, state senators in both parties voted in favor of union-backed legislation that would make it harder to fire New York police officers credibly accused of using excessive force or other offenses. Read More

New York State is deploying several thousand contact tracers, workers tasked with interviewing COVID-stricken residents and notifying the people they may have infected. But Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking a notable step that will likely make the effort faster and more efficient: he’s having someone else do the hiring. Read More

#NYCoronavirus: New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has a $1 trillion list of federal stimulus funding proposals—with specifics that illustrate both the union’s thirst for taxpayer money and its desire to influence public policy well beyond the classroom walls. 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.