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 a senior fellow at the Empire Center.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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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.