Research

Budget deficit? What budget deficit? With today’s pending recommendation from the Board of Regents, New York's education establishment is united in proposing that state aid to America's best-funded preK-12 public school system be increased next year by at least $2 billion. The figure is nearly double the amount projected in Governor Cuomo's financial plan—which showed the state is running deeply in the red and facing its largest budget shortfall since the Great Recession. Read More

The Cuomo administration recently revealed that New York’s Medicaid program is running over budget by an astonishing 16 percent, or $4 billion, even though enrollment is flat and medical inflation is at historic lows. This seemingly out-of-nowhere spending spike has triggered the Empire State’s worst fiscal crisis since the Great Recession. It raises an awkward question for fans of single-payer health care in Albany: If state government can’t properly manage the fraction of the health-care system it already controls, why should it be trusted to take over the whole thing? Read More

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. Read More

The remarkable thing about state's multi-billion-dollar Medicaid crisis is that it is almost entirely the result of the Cuomo administration's own actions. There is no economic downturn or change in federal policy that explains the program's current $4 billion deficit, or its $3 billion projected gap in the next fiscal year, as confirmed in Friday's mid-year update to the state financial plan. Read More

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s regulatory attack on National Grid’s Long Island gas moratorium threatens to have broader negative financial effects on all of the state’s investor-owned utilities—with implications for the overall business climate as well. Read More

To fight crime and fare evasion in New York City subways, the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to hire 500 more officers for its police department—an unprecedented expansion of what's already one of the largest police forces based in New York State. As of 2018, the MTA Police employed a total of 773 officers, including new hires and officers who retired or otherwise left the payroll during the year, according to records posted at SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center's transparency website.  MTA Police pay averaged $131,959, including average overtime of $34,936.  The number of MTA Police officers was the highest in at least six years; in 2013, there 99 fewer total officers employed by the department. Read More

Why are contract negotiations between public officials and public employee unions routinely conducted behind closed doors? One of New York’s largest public-sector unions has spilled the beans: it’s better for them. 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.