money-2180338_1280-150x150-1312262Payroll records exposing massive overtime abuses at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) made headlines for months last summer—ultimately prompting an internal investigation— after they were exposed on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website.

But our MTA payroll summary was only the second most-viewed SeeThroughNY news release of 2019. To find out which of the transparency postings got the most attention this year, scroll through the list of the 2019 Top 10 SeeThroughNY press releases, determined by website page views:

#10: Sen. Skoufis Spends More Than Any New Senator
October 15
Sen. James Skoufis, D-Newburgh, had $134,858 in staff and member office expenses during his first three months in the Senate, the most among newly elected members of that house, according to data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

#9: Corrections Retirees Had Highest Average NYCERS Pensions
September 5
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 SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

#8: Compare your property taxes
November 26
Residents of the Mid-Hudson village of Liberty had the highest effective property tax rate in New York (outside New York City and Nassau) during fiscal year 2019, according to the newest edition of Benchmarking NY, the Empire Center’s annual examination of local property taxes.

#7: Authorities Payroll Added to SeeThroughNY
November 7
The latest payroll data for a total of 13,615 employees at 54 different New York State public authorities was posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

#6: Local New York Property Taxes Ranked by Empire Center
May 2
Residents of the Western New York village of Sloan had the highest effective property tax rate in New York (outside New York City and Nassau), according to Benchmarking NY, the Empire Center’s annual rundown of local property tax burdens.

#5: One in four NYSTRS educators earned six figures in 2018-19
October 21
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 SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

#4: More Downstate Police Pensions Topping $100k
August 6
Six-figure pensions are becoming the norm among retirees from New York’s largest downstate suburban police departments, according to data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

#3: NYPD Pension Fund Must Share Names with Empire Center, Judge Rules
August 26
In a major Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) case, a state Supreme Court justice in Manhattan today ruled that the names of retired New York City police officers receiving public pensions must be released to the Empire Center for Public Policy.

#2: Overtime Surge Fuels $400M Payroll Hike at MTA
April 22
Overtime payments jumped nearly 16 percent last year at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), fueling agency-wide average pay hikes of 6 percent, according to newly posted payroll records at SeeThroughNY.net. The increase in MTA payroll costs for 2018 alone was $418 million—$82 million more than the authority expects to raise annually from its latest round of fare, ticket and toll hikes.

#1: 2018 State Payroll Now Posted at SeeThroughNY
February 13
The complete 2018 New York state government payroll is now posted on SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s government transparency website.

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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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