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 economic recovery has been far from 'even' across New York," said E.J McMahon, from the conservative-leaning, Albany-based Empire Center, in a recent employment analysis. "In fact, the last eight years have seen a sharp and growing economic divide between upstate and downstate." Read More

The letter pointed to a report from the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank, which compared the prevailing wage to the regional medians of occupational wages for all non-residential building construction workers, including those paid union scale. It found the prevailing wage increased construction labor costs by 20 percent in the Buffalo region. Read More

“It’s a stay-the-course budget for the governor, for better and for worse,” said E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center think tank in Albany. “For the better, he’s restraining spending and promising to put the property-tax cap in the budget. That shows he means business. For the worse, the news of the budget is the weakness of revenues.” Read More

Unfortunately, the Empire Center identified what it called a “yellow flag” with personal income tax receipts late in the year and it is expected that receipts might fall as much as $500 million over mid-year projections because of the volatility in the stock market. If that trend continues, New York could see its revenues falling short this year. The state might want to tighten its fiscal belt. Read More


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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.