Tag: Andrew Cuomo

During his budget address last week, Cuomo presented a chart showing how a self-imposed two-percent cap on state government spending growth would change the $10 billion deficit that he bridged in the 2011 budget into a $2 billion surplus by 2016. But E.J. McMahon, president of the right-leaning Empire Center, points out that the number is dependent upon “the magic footnote": It assumes $7.7 billion in future cutsthat are not lined out in the state's latest financial plan.“Has he created a $2 billion surplus? In a word, no. … This is an aspiration.” Read More

‘Building on Success” was the theme of Gov. Cuomo’s election-year budget presentation in Albany this week. But while Cuomo boasts he’s got New York headed in the right direction, the latest economic and demographic indicators suggest we still have a long way to go. Read More

One fiscal watchdog called that surplus an illusion. "It's purely aspirational," said E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center, a conservative think tank. He said a more realistic projection shows New York with a $2 billion deficit in two years rather than a $2 billion surplus. Read More

E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center said that adopting the budget wouldn’t lead to the $2 billion surplus Cuomo proposes using to offset the tax cuts, though he said it’s a fine goal. Instead, by traditional measures, it has budget gaps of $1.6 billion in 2016, $2 billion in 2017 and $3 billion in 2018. “He has basically changed the rules,” McMahon said. “ … It’s like a coach saying we’ve not only won more games, we’ve already scored 30 more points, when it’s actually his goal to score 30.” Read More

Cuomo has said that he could flip what is currently projected as a $1.7 billion deficit for the next fiscal year into a $2 billion surplus by 2016, provided he can hold state spending growth to two percent or less. That's going to be quite difficult, fiscal analysts note, as the state has already committed to spending increases for education and health programs. “Two percent growth in state operating funds yields the 'surplus' he's talking about. The question, though, is that 40 percent of that is Medicaid and school aid, and those are assumed to increase at four percent each year, and in Albany, those are seen not as caps, but floors,” said E.J. McMahon, president of the business-backed Empire Center. “So if that's off-limits to reduction, it's very difficult to see how everything else gets reduced enough to hold that two percent line.” Enter the waiver. If the state were able to count on the additional federal revenue, it could direct some of its own money elsewhere. Read More

E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a nonprofit think tank, questions what kind of businesses will get into [Start-Up NY] and how many lasting jobs it will create. "Some of them will fail and won't produce any economic benefits," McMahon said. "It's capitalism; that's how it works." Read More

In his State of the State message last week, Gov. Cuomo once again cited the new Tappan Zee Bridge as a symbol of his ability to move forward on big, important infrastructure projects. But the governor hasn’t leveled with commuters and truckers on what they’ll be paying for this progress. Hint: a lot more than they do now. Read More

E.J. McMahon, executive director of the fiscally-conservative Empire Center, noted that statewide bond acts are often rejected by voters and he said the education bond proposed by Cuomo seems to rely on an arbitrary number and would pay for technology that will be outdated and useless before it's even paid off. “My concern is that it was pulled out of thin air and it was used to fill space in the State of the State that was thin on education stuff,” he said Sewer and infrastructure upgrades are a significant expense faced by many municipalities, including some that still directly discharge waste into the Hudson River during storms. Beaches in communities along Lake Erie are regularly closed during summer months because of sewer discharge into the water. Old pipes, decaying electrical systems and other infrastructure problems have stalled private development in many upstate cities, McMahon said. While McMahon said he didn't support the whole environmental bond, the $2 billion directed toward infrastructure is increasingly necessary, but gets little notice during an election year. “It's the non-sexy, really important thing that seems like it won't happen while we're paying for iPads and technology for schools,” he said. 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.