Category: Reports

At a time when New York desperately needs to find ways of delivering public services more efficiently, its transit bus operations could prove to be a significant source of recurring savings for the future. The key to unlocking these savings is competition—an essential spur to improved performance and efficiency that’s been missing from transit in New York for most of the past 50 years. Read More

This report analyzes New York State government’s fiscal history over the last three and a half decades, with a particular focus on Governor Pataki’s accomplishments. It finds that fiscal crises are always preceded by periods of higher-than-normal spending, and that reducing spending is the only successful way to solve a crisis. Tax increases, such as those passed in the early 1970s and 1990s, exacerbate crises by reducing economic activity. Read More

Skyrocketing state and local employee pension costs have been a major factor in the fiscal crisis affecting every level of government in New York State. Taxpayer financed public pension contributions have soared by more than $2.3 billion dollars over the past two years—and are projected to rise even more in 2004. In New York City alone, the rise in pension costs will consume every dollar raised by Mayor Bloomberg’s record property tax increase. Read More

The benefits of opening public services to private competition—in terms of cost savings and quality—are potentially enormous, as George Pataki recognized when he first took office as Governor nearly a decade ago. Despite Governor Pataki’s early advocacy, however, competitive contracting has not taken root as the preferred approach to providing public services in New York. Given the dimensions of the state’s current fiscal crisis, there’s never been a better time for the Governor to pursue his original agenda by allowing private providers to challenge New York’s entrenched public-sector monopolies. Read More

The 2003 New York State Court of Appeals ruling in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case has created a historic opportunity to reform New York City’s troubled schools. This opening was created because the court not only required changing the state aid formula to ensure a “sound basic education” for all New York City pupils, it also ordered that city schools be accountable for actually producing results. Read More

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision ordering more than $5 billion a year in additional spending on New York City schools is likely to have little effect on student achievement in the city. Because lack of money is not a primary explanation for the city’s low student performance, additional money by itself will do little to improve the situation. Read More

Federal income tax cuts enacted during the past four years have been particularly benefcial to New York, saving Empire State residents a total of $36 billion through 2004. However, as documented in this report, New Yorkers are also being hit harder than most Americans by what’s been called “the most serious problem faced by federal taxpayers” — the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). 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.