screen-shot-2018-05-11-at-9-21-47-pm-150x150-3375825Sweetheart deals with labor unions, expensive “clean energy” schemes, sky-high school spending, and—last but never least—taxes, taxes and more taxes.

Those were the subjects of the most-read posts on the Empire Center’s NYTorch blog in 2018.

Based on website page views, here is the countdown of the NYTorch Top 10 for the past year.

#10:  Senate set to OK union trap law
Ken Girardin, Jan. 12
Days into the legislative session, a bill designed to make it harder for New York government workers to extricate themselves from labor union membership rolls was poised to move out of a key Senate committee.

#9:  Cuomo’s stealthy boost for 1199
Bill Hammond, Nov. 18
In a replay of the notorious Pataki-Rivera deal of 2002, the Cuomo administration has quietly ordered a multi-billion-dollar Medicaid rate increase for hospitals and nursing homes, with the money earmarked to boost employee pay and benefits.

#8:  Looking ahead to next year’s Tax Day
E.J. McMahon, April 16
An interactive map showing how the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will affect New York taxpayers in two different adjusted gross income (AGI) ranges: $75,000 to $100,000, and $100,000 to $200,000.

#7:  Hunting for a new SALT shaker
E.J. McMahon, Jan. 3
Now that the feds have limited the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for individuals, should New York’s no-longer-fully-deductible personal income tax (PIT) be converted into an employer payroll tax?

#6:  NY school spending tops $22k per pupil
E.J. McMahon, May 21
New York surpassed all states with per-pupil elementary and secondary school spending of $22,366 per pupil as of 2016, according to the latest U.S. Census data.

#5:  NY’s leaky gas taxes
E.J. McMahon, Aug. 29
When motorists in New York top off their gas tanks this Labor Day weekend, they’ll be paying an average of about 45 cents per gallon in state and local fuel taxes—the 5th highest total in the nation, and second highest in the Northeast.

#4:  Cuomo’s big stealth tax hike
E.J. McMahon, Jan. 18
Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal included more than $1.5 billion in automatic state personal income tax hikes, affecting many of the same people who have the most to lose from the new federal limits on state and local tax (SALT) deductions.

#3:  Wind costs blow north
Ken Girardin, July 16
Upstate New York ratepayers will pick up more than half the multi-billion-dollar tab for a massive offshore wind turbine project that will provide very costly power for Long Island and New York City.

#2:  The budget’s big gift to unions
Ken Girardin, March 30
Buried in the state budget bills rushed to passage under cover of Passover, Good Friday evening and the Easter holiday was the top item on the New York government unions’ wish list—a provision designed to trap public employees into paying union dues.

#1:  A troubling deal on Fidelis
Bill Hammond, March 31
The largest revenue-raiser in the just-completed state budget, worth $2 billion over four years, is not a tax or a fee or even a legal settlement. It takes the form of semi-voluntary “grants” squeezed mostly out of a Catholic Church-affiliated health insurance plan.

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

Sales tax receipts are signaling slow growth in most of New York State

After rising sharply with an extra push from the inflation surge of 2022, sales tax receipts in New York grew much more slowly during the first four months of this year, according to from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office. Statewide sales tax Read More

Punted ERA Proposition Is a Victory for the Rule of Law

The rule of law scored a victory yesterday when a proposition to amend the equal rights provision of the state Constitution got knocked off this fall’s general election ballot.  Read More

Upstate Catches A Big Break As Offshore Wind Deals Sink

The cancellation of planned offshore wind projects has sparked considerable heartburn and hand-wringing among lawmakers, activists and politically wired businesses and unions, but it’s been good news for the upstate families and businesses who would be paying more than half the cost. For them, each year of delays on scotched projects amounts to future electric-bill savings of upwards of $1 billion—and gives Albany another chance to find a better, less expensive way to go green. Read More

A Squatters “Fix” That May Fix Squat

Lawmakers are taking victory laps over language in the state budget related to "squatters" but the change hasn't given property owners any rights or options they didn't already have. Read More

Budget Deal Slows Medicaid Growth But Plants Seeds for Future Spending

The growth of New York's Medicaid spending is projected to slow but not stop as Governor Hochul and the Legislature effectively split their differences over health care in the newly enacted state budget. Read More

NY school spending led all US by record margin in 2021-22

Public elementary and secondary school spending in New York hit a new record high of $29,873 per pupil in 2021-22, according to the Census Bureau's latest annual school finance data—inching closer to fully twice the national average amid a significant post-pandemic decline in pupil performance. Read More

Albany’s New Health Insurance Tax Comes with Few Limits

The newly enacted state budget imposes a multibillion-dollar tax on health insurance without specifying who must pay how much – leaving those basic details to be decided later by the health commissioner in negotiation wit Read More

One of New York’s Biggest Medicaid Contractors Is Quietly Acquiring a Competitor

Author's note: This post has been updated to correct an error in the second paragraph. As state lawmakers debate the future of Medicaid home care, one of the program's bigg Read More