For national Sunshine Week the Empire Center for Public Policy did its part to help make New York a brighter place. Every day a new effort was highlighted.

On Sunshine Sunday, a video interview promoting, the Center’s government transparency site was posted online. In the interview, Tim Hoefer explained how the site, which was founded in 2008, posts financial and budgetary data to show New Yorkers how their money is being taxed and spent.” Really, the point of SeeThrough is to look at spending from a large scale all the way down to the local person and the local contract and really get a sense of where your tax dollars are going on an annual or daily basis,” Hoefer said in an interview.

Monday, a webinar explaining was held for the media and interested public citizens. The live-online tutorial walked through how to use the site’s different features.

Tuesday, the Center released its See-Through Government Transparency Act, legislation requiring the proactive disclosure of public information. The law would update FOIL by requiring state and local government agencies to post on a single database the records they are now required to release in response to FOIL requests, including payrolls, expenditures, contracts for purchases and services, collective bargaining agreements and annual reports. The full bill memorandum and text can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, we highlight the landmark case in which the Empire Center has asked the Court of Appeals to overturn lower court rulings that allowed public retirement systems to keep secret the names of their pension recipients.

Thursday, we updated with state Senate expenditures for the most recent six-month period. The Empire Center maintains expenditure data for the State Legislature dating back to 2007. The Assembly has not yet posted its expenditure data for the same period, which ended more than five months ago.

Friday, we added video tutorials to, so users can have an easier time finding what they’re looking for.

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Authorities Payroll Added to SeeThroughNY

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Empire Center Ranks Local Taxes, Spending and Debt Across NY

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FDNY Pensions Average More Than $129,000

The 471 Fire Department of New York (FDNY) officers and firefighters who retired in calendar year 2018 are eligible for average pensions of $129,259, according to data posted today at, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

One in four NYSTRS educators earned six figures in 2018-19

More than 25 percent of public school teachers and administrators in school districts outside New York City were paid more than $100,000 as of 2018-19, according to salary data posted today at, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Corrections Retirees Had Highest Average NYCERS Pensions

Corrections Department employees qualified for average pensions of nearly $70,000, the highest average benefit for any agency grouping among the 7,990 New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) members collecting their first full year’s worth of pension benefits in 2018, according to data posted today at, the Empire Center’s transparency website. 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.

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