Tag: Government Reform

While Cuomo speaks of 10,500 local governments, others say that is overstated. "He is greatly exaggerating," E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center think tank, said of the number, contending that many of those are on paper or so small that they pose negligible costs. Read More

"The point of the FOIL and the transparency movement in general is not to be punitive to the municipalities, but to make this data which should be open to the public, open to the public without being a burden," said Tim Hoefer, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a conservative think tank that runs SeeThroughNY.net. That website offers a searchable database of public salaries as provided by the state retirement system. Read More

Curious how much the government worker next door makes? For information that is lacking in the state’s websites—namely, public salaries—nonprofit groups, such as the Albany-based Empire Center for Public Policy, compile the info into searchable online databases. Their website,SeeThroughNY allows users to search public employee salaries, pensions, contracts and other info for various levels of government. Read More

In total, the state's multiple levels of government burn through more than $190 billion a year from their own revenue sources, mainly taxes. Another $60 billion comes the federal government - which has its own claim on our wallets. But where does it all go? Thanks to the digital revolution, anyone with access to the Internet can begin to find some answers to that question. Read More

Local supervisors and one fiscal watchdog say Cuomo is chasing the wrong property tax cost drivers. They blame state mandates such as the Taylor Law, which gives public employee unions additional leverage when negotiating expired contracts, for driving up local taxes. At the same time, they complain, he is taking aim at special districts that, even if eliminated, would still cost taxpayers because they provide specific services for a locality’s residents. Read More

New York is now one of only 14 states still imposing any tax on estates — the cash, land, houses, financial assets and other property left by deceased residents. The state estate tax, also called the "death tax," is triggered once assets exceed $1 million. By contrast, the federal government only taxes estates worth more than $5.34 million, a figure that will rise with inflation every year. 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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