What They Make 2018-19 | Reports

Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2018-19 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.

Union ditches members—and rules by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

One of New York’s largest public-sector unions is deliberately trying to shed some dues-paying members. The union in question wants to avoid transparency and accountability for how it spends dues money. And unless state lawmakers or federal regulators act, they’ll succeed.

Health price controls are failing by Bill Hammond | | NY Torch

State-regulated health premiums for 2020 are rising faster than the medical inflation rate for the sixth year in a row, yet the officials who signed off on the hikes insist they have saved consumers money – because average premiums are lower than what insurers originally requested. Positive spin notwithstanding, it's increasingly evident that the state's nine-year-old price-control regime, known as "prior approval," is failing as a strategy to keep health costs in check.

Cuomo signals a Medicaid crunch by Bill Hammond | | NY Torch

The Cuomo administration's quarterly budget update includes a warning for the state's health-care industry: Medicaid cuts could be coming. The report, released Tuesday, says officials are developing a plan to reduce Medicaid spending that could include "across-the-board rate reductions to health care providers and plans."

A June boon for NYC pension funds by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

New York City's five municipal public pension funds ended their 2019 fiscal year with an aggregate investment gain of 7.24 percent, slightly above their 7 percent assumed rate of return, according to a preliminary estimate by city comptroller's office.

NY’s getting a bit grayer by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

The elderly share of America's population has been growing—but New York is graying more slowly. That’s among the trends to be gleaned from the latest U.S. Census estimates of population distributions by age group at the state and county level.

NY’s ominous new rent regs by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

New York City's World War II-rooted "housing emergency" is now officially indefinite—and has spread, potentially, to every corner of New York State.

But the potential negative impacts of the law won't be limited to the Big Apple. The law is likely to have a chilling effect on prospects for multifamily investment and development in struggling communities across New York—especially upstate.

The pension piece of “prevailing wage” by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

New York’s AFL-CIO has issued a statement blasting the “misinformation campaign” by business groups fighting organized labor’s push to impose union pay levels on private developments receiving public subsidies.

There is, indeed, plenty of misinformation wafting around this issue—but virtually all of it originated  in the union camp.

Albany pork binge update by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

New York lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo last year tapped their favorite slush funds for more than $500 million in pork barrel spending, according to the latest tally posted at our SeeThroughNY transparency database. And before the current session ends in two weeks, the Legislature could once again jack up its favorite pork appropriations.

Unbalanced by Design: New York State’s Strong Executive Budget System by E.J. McMahon | | Reports

This year marks the 90th anniversary of New York State’s first Executive Budget, presented by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt in January 1929. Constitutional amendments establishing the Executive Budget process had been approved by New York voters in November 1927, capping a more than decade-long bipartisan effort to bring order to what had been a shambolic and fiscally profligate legislative budget process.
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