A challenging fiscal environment and notoriously high property taxes have raised structural and service issues to new levels as communities explore the potential efficiencies to be gained through shared services, dissolution and consolidation. Read More
The full extent of the continuing rise in school spending since the recession was not inevitable or unavoidable. It was the result of (a) increasing teacher compensation costs driven largely by automatic pay raises, and (b) continued relatively high levels of staffing, relative to enrollment, especially in non-teaching titles. Read More
New York’s imminent fall from third to fourth most populous state can be attributed mainly to its heavy loss of residents to the rest of the country—a trend persisting in this decade, according to the latest Census data. Read More
Major residential, commercial and industrial developments throughout the country are subject to an array of federal and state laws designed to protect the environment, buttressed nearly everywhere by local land-use regulations addressing the community impacts of such projects. Read More
Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2012-13 edition of What They Make, the Empire Center's annual report on public payrolls, allows New York taxpayers to compare this key element of local government costs around the state... Read More
No city in America can match New York’s broad array of taxes—more typical of a state than of a municipal government. Most New York City residents and businesses are subject to combined state and local tax rates far exceeding national norms. Such high taxes are a headwind against economic growth: they add to overhead, cut into profits, and make it costlier to employ people. Read More
New Yorkers pay some of the nation’s highest local taxes, but most of the state’s counties, municipalities and school districts do, at best, an inadequate job of sharing details on how taxpayer money is spent. Improved financial transparency would serve the public’s right to know. Read More
For nearly 40 years, unions representing police and firefighters in New York State have been entitled to seek compulsory binding “interest arbitration” of contract impasses, a form of dispute resolution not available to most public employees outside the public safety field. Read More
In 2013, New York’s state government will decide whether to permit extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing or, instead, turn its current moratorium into a permanent ban on this technology. Read More
In the second year of New York State’s property tax cap, proposed school district budgets will be subject to an average tax levy limit of 4.6 percent—more than double the statutory base cap of 2 percent and well above the 3 percent average limit for school budget proposals last year, according to data from the state comptroller’s office. Read More
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