Reports

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

New York’s property tax levy cap makes it more important than ever for local governments and school districts to bring their long-term spending into line with long-term revenues. But most localities don’t issue budget forecasts that look further than a year ahead —making it it easier to put off tough decisions. Read More

New York State has embarked on an ambitious multi-year effort to overhaul its taxpayer-funded Medicaid program, which has long combined high costs with less than impressive health outcomes. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “redesign” of Medicaid will be heavily focused on “complex, high-cost populations” – the roughly one million Medicaid recipients with long-term disabilities and chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, substance abuse and mental illness. Read More

Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2011-12 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

New York taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year on health insurance coverage for retired state and local government employees, many of whom are too young to be eligible for Medicare. But the mounting “pay-as-you-go” bill for retiree healthcare is just the tip of a much larger iceberg. Read More

Located some 40 miles north of New York City, in Westchester County, the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) consists of two operating nuclear reactors, with a combined generating capacity of over 2,000 MW, and one long-retired reactor. IPEC’s size and location are the key factors in both the power it provides and the decades-long fight to shutter the plant permanently. Read More

The movement of people in and out of New York over the past two decades, including the combined effects of foreign immigration and domestic migration, has produced significant changes in the Empire State’s age profile. Read More

Low-income working families in New York State receive a significant annual wage supplement through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is available to eligible filers of federal, state and New York City income tax returns. Read More

Opponents of the proposed Tier 6 pension reform like to point out that the average annual benefit paid by the state pension system in 2011 was $19,151 — “not a big amount for someone whose [sic] gave a lifetime of service,” as the Public Employees Federation (PEF) puts it in a letter and blast fax to state legislators. Read More

Traditional public employee pension programs in New York State have become unaffordable for taxpayers—while denying workers the ability to choose more flexible approaches to retirement planning. Read More

In the wake of the nation’s worst economic downturn since the 1930s, New York State’s counties, municipalities and school districts face intense budgetary pressure. To bring spending into line with tightly constrained revenues, especially under a newly imposed property tax cap, local governments need more than ever to control rising employee salary and benefit costs. Read More

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About

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.