The full extent of the continuing rise in school spending since the recession was not inevitable or unavoidable. It was the result of (a) increasing teacher compensation costs driven largely by automatic pay raises, and (b) continued relatively high levels of staffing, relative to enrollment, especially in non-teaching titles. Read More
New York’s imminent fall from third to fourth most populous state can be attributed mainly to its heavy loss of residents to the rest of the country—a trend persisting in this decade, according to the latest Census data. Read More
Major residential, commercial and industrial developments throughout the country are subject to an array of federal and state laws designed to protect the environment, buttressed nearly everywhere by local land-use regulations addressing the community impacts of such projects. Read More
No city in America can match New York’s broad array of taxes—more typical of a state than of a municipal government. Most New York City residents and businesses are subject to combined state and local tax rates far exceeding national norms. Such high taxes are a headwind against economic growth: they add to overhead, cut into profits, and make it costlier to employ people. Read More
New Yorkers pay some of the nation’s highest local taxes, but most of the state’s counties, municipalities and school districts do, at best, an inadequate job of sharing details on how taxpayer money is spent. Improved financial transparency would serve the public’s right to know. Read More
New York’s property tax levy cap makes it more important than ever for local governments and school districts to bring their long-term spending into line with long-term revenues. But most localities don’t issue budget forecasts that look further than a year ahead —making it it easier to put off tough decisions. Read More
Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2012-13 edition of What They Make, the Empire Center's annual report on public payrolls, allows New York taxpayers to compare this key element of local government costs around the state... Read More
Tax cuts emerged as a major issue early in the 2000 Presidential campaign, with George W. Bush and Al Gore each emphasizing the savings he would deliver to middle-class taxpayers. Tax policy is also a sharp point of contention in New York’s Senate race, where Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton have sparred over whether large scale tax relief is either desirable or affordable. Read More
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