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

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

The Albany think tank, the Empire Center, released a report in May of last year that took note of New York surpassing all states with per-pupil elementary and secondary school spending of $22,366 per pupil as of 2016, according to the most recent U.S. Census data available at that time. The report noted that Empire State spent 90 percent more than the U.S. average of $11,762, up from 86 percent above average in 2015. The education spending gap between the Empire State and the national average has grown dramatically over the past 20 years, the Empire Center noted.  What do you mean there’s a revenue problem? Read More

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Empire Center for Public Policy
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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.