Unless you owe your paycheck to taxpayers — maybe you are a public school teacher or government accountant — you’re going to enjoy the Editorial Spotlight interview the Editorial Board had today with E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center for Public Policy and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. (You can view the session by going to Editorial Spotlight, clicking “on demand” and then selecting the McMahon video from the menu.) Maybe enjoy isn’t exactly the right word. Let’s try this: You’re going to want to pack up all of your stuff, empty your bank accounts and move to some tax-friendlier, better-governed place. You’ll probably need a plane ticket, maybe even a boat.

McMahon, a no-nonsense researcher and public policy wonk, is tough on the state’s public-employee unions . . . because the public-employee unions are tough on New Yorkers’ wallets; virtually every report examining why combined state and local taxes in New York are so high points to the overly generous benefits enjoyed by public-sector employees. Of course, the unions did not steal the money; that isn’t necessary when there are so many elected officials eager to sit in their laps. Anyway, McMahon is unfailing critical of the unions and the public officials who forget that their obligation runs to the taxpayer.

A tidbit from today’s session: McMahon gives Gov. Paterson good marks for sounding the alarm early on the state’s economic crisis, yet he doesn’t think Paterson went far enough when it comes to altering the status quo. He would seek more favorable contract terms from the unions (i.e., “givebacks”). He applauds Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone’s recent successful efforts in this regard. Likewise, he would seek legislative approval for changes in collective-bargaining rules that are favorable to the taxpayer. He would also exact much deeper spending cuts than Paterson has proposed.

McMahon contends — and he is hardly alone in concluding as such — that the damage to Wall Street during this economic tailspin will be as long lasting as it is severe. Of course, Wall Street pain translates into Main Street pain, which translates into pain in the home. McMahon doesn’t think the proposed Paterson budget — for all its dire this and that — sufficiently recognizes just how dramatically different Wall Street and New York are. No rose-colored glasses for McMahon, a former journalist.

I suspect that if McMahon had his way, the computer system that processes applications for jobless benefits in New York would be humming with activity from ex-government workers. (The system crashed earlier this week, under the strain of 10,000 people an hour trying to get through.) No, I don’t see where dropping thousands more unemployed into the marketplace does our economy any good . . . but the state is obliged to adopt a budget that balances. So somebody has to be honest about the hard choices.

Read article here

You may also like

State’s Growing Budget Hole Threatens NYC Jobs and Aid as Congress Takes a Holiday

“The biggest problem for the state is the enormous, recurring structural budget gap starting next year and into the future,” said E.J. McMahon of the conservative-leaning Empire Center. “Cuomo clearly hopes that starting in 2021, (Democratic presidential candidate Joseph) Biden and a Democratic Congress will provide states and local government a couple of year’s worth of added stimulus. Read More

How Andrew Cuomo became ‘maybe the most powerful governor’ in U.S.

Ed McKinley ALBANY — When the New York Constitution was reorganized nearly 100 years ago to give the governor more power over the budget process,  noted there was a risk of making “the governor a czar." M Read More

Study disputes Cuomo on Trump tax package; experts say it’s complicated

Michael Gormley ALBANY — A new study by a conservative think tank says President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law gave most New Yorkers a tax cut, even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insists on repealing the measure because he says it will cost New Yo Read More

Empire Center sues Department of Health over nursing home records

Johan Sheridan ALBANY, N.Y. () — The Empire Center filed a  against the state Department of Health on Friday. “This case isn’t about assigning blame or embarrassing political leaders,” said Bill Hammond, the Empire Center’s Read More

Good news: That New York pork isn’t going out the door after all

The Empire Center first reported Tuesday that grants — 226 of them, totaling $46 million, to recipients selected by the governor and individual state lawmakers — seemed to still be going ahead. Read More

New York Lawmakers Seek Independent Probe of Nursing-Home Coronavirus Deaths

With lingering questions about how the novel coronavirus killed thousands of New Yorkers who lived in nursing homes, a group of state lawmakers is pushing to create an independent commission to get answers from the state Department of Health. Read More

Policy analyst: Cuomo wrong to write-off nursing home criticism as political conspiracy

“The importance of discussing this and getting the true facts out is to understand what did and didn’t happen so we can learn from it in case this happens again,” Hammond said. Read More

EDITORIAL: Nursing home report requires a second opinion

No doubt, the Health Department and the governor would like this report to be the final word on the subject. But if it’s all the same with them, we’d still like a truly independent review. Read More