On Dec. 6, 2011, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a deal to extend New York’s biggest income tax increase in 50 years, targeting earners of $1 million and more for what will be the third highest income tax rate imposed by any major state. About one quarter of the $2.6 billion tax hike will be redistributed in the form of tax cuts for middle-class filers, and the rest will be spent. This page, which will be continuously updated, features Empire Center commentary and analysis on this topic.

NY Torch Blog

Op-Eds & Other Articles

  • Tax-hike cheers: NY biz’s big bungle — New York Post — Dec. 12, 2011 – So Gov. Cuomo hikes the state’s top marginal-income-tax rate by 29 percent for three years, and the city’s business community says it’s terrific. Huh?
  • Spend, spend, spend — New York Post — Dec. 11, 2011 – Forget all the spin about “reform,” “fairness” and “job creation” emanating from Albany during last week’s lightning-fast special session of the New York State Legislature. The deal ultimately was all about spending.
  • More Revenue, More Spending — New York Times, Room for Debate — Dec. 9, 2011 – This week’s flash tax deal in Albany will hurt the state’s long-term economic prospects and put the state government’s finances on an even more precarious footing.
  • Andrew’s lip service — New York Post — Dec. 4, 2011 – Few Albany policy fights in recent memory have generated more heat and less light than the dispute over whether to extend higher state income-tax rates on high-income households. Now Gov. Cuomo has blown a cloud of smoke into the mix.
  • Cuomo’s Big Stall — New York Post — Nov. 10, 2011 – New York state’s mid-year financial plan update was due on Oct. 31, and state agency heads were scheduled to present their budget requests at hearings last week. But Gov. Cuomo has taken the unusual step of delaying the mid-year report and postponing the agency budget hearings until further notice.
  • Testing Cuomo – National Review Online – Nov. 10, 2011 – Governor Cuomo faces daunting challenges that will make his second year much tougher than his first, testing his oft-stated commitment to holding down taxes and taming unsustainable growth in New York’s public-sector spending.
  • The Many Myths of the Millionaire Tax – New York Post – Oct. 12, 2011 – If there’s one thing the Occupy Wall Street crowd agrees on, it’s that New York should expand its “millionaire tax” on high-income earners. But the soak-the-rich platform is built on factual distortions and a partisan rewrite of history — as two state lawmakers who support that agenda have just demonstrated.
  • Empire of Excess – City Journal, Winter 2010 – After allowing for federal deductibility, the effective state income-tax rate is actually higher now than it was 35 years ago. And current tax trends in Washington will push New York’s net income-tax cost—the difference between earning income here and in a no-tax state such as Florida or Texas—further beyond 1970s levels, even if the higher state rate expires on schedule in two years.

Video and Audio

News Links

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

What They Make

Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. Read More

Bear market spells big trouble for NY state and city budgets

Wall Street generates an outsized share of New York’s tax revenue, so the recent drop in stock prices should worry both Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams. Read More

Sticker Shock: The Impact of a ‘Single-Payer’ Health Plan on New York Taxes

Proponents of “single payer” health care are pushing New Yorkers to take a multi-billion-dollar leap of faith. Read More

Benchmarking New York

New York State residents pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation. Read More

Tiering Up

New York taxpayers have been hit with enormous increases in pension costs for state and local government employees over the past 20 years. From less than $1 billion in 2000, combined annual employer contributions to the Empire State’s public pension funds escalated to nearly $10 billion by 2010, peaking at nearly $17 billion in 2015. Contributions have leveled off at roughly $16 billion in recent years—but under lenient government accounting standards, even that figure conceals the full long-term cost of generous, locked-in pension benefits for generations of retired government employees.  Read More

Medicaid’s Metamorphosis

A new Empire Center report reveals that the New York Medicaid program now covers more individuals above the poverty line than below it. Read More

Calling Tax Cut “Theft,” Cuomo Continues to Push For Federal Bucks With Phony Math

The results of this week’s Georgia Senate runoffs, assuring Democrats will soon control both houses of Congress, as well as the White House, had to come as a huge relief to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Read More

Perverse Incentives, High Costs and Poor Outcomes

The state’s current and projected fiscal condition make this an appropriate time to examine what drives high special education spending in New York, how it’s serving children and how it can be improved. Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org


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.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!