Upstate job growth weak—again by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Employment growth in most upstate New York regions remained weak during the year ending in February, according to the latest monthly state Department of Labor jobs report.

Senate mugs NYC on cop pensions by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Buried in the budget bill passed by the state Senate last week was a provision that would add billions more dollars to New York City's already sizable long-term pension liabilities.

The provision in question would increase disability retirement benefits for city police officers hired since 2009—and, by extension, also for city firefighters and members of other uniformed services.

Thruway toll credit crashes by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

In their budget bills, state Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans both had the good sense to reject one of the most egregious fiscal-political gimmicks ever to emerge from Governor Andrew Cuomo: a temporary income tax credit that would have reimbursed a portion of Thruway tolls paid by New York State residents and businesses.

Unsavory roots of the minimum wage by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

In his push for a statewide $15-an-hour minimum wage, Governor Andrew Cuomo frequently invokes fairness, justice and the rhetoric of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But the pre-FDR Progressive Era advocates of the minimum wage had a worldview that today would fit in best at a Donald Trump rally.

Save the cookies by Tim Hoefer | | NY Torch

New York’s Legislature has been exempt from many provisions of the state Freedom of Information Law since FOIL was first enacted in 1974. The Assembly and Senate ultimately decide how much legislative information to make public. This makes about as much sense as putting Cookie Monster in charge of security at the Chips Ahoy factory.

As a result, a lot of information on legislative matters ranging from individual employee timesheets to a billion-dollar slush fund has been concealed from taxpayers.

But if Governor Cuomo has his way, that could soon change.

“Unfair,” or just “not enough”? by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Before leaving Albany for the Legislature's Presidents' Week recess, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie tweeted up a storm in support of a new soak-the-rich tax hike proposal backed by most of his fellow Assembly Democrats.

In the process, he trotted out some familiar myths and misleadingly incomplete data to support the claim that wealthy New Yorkers don't pay their "fair share" of state income taxes.

Making Work Pay by Russell Sykes & E.J. McMahon | | Reports

The poverty-fighting effectiveness of the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit in New York is the focus of “Making Work Pay,” a new Issue Brief from the Empire Center for Public Policy.

In light of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push for a $15-an-hour statewide minimum wage, the briefing paper explains how the EITC already serves to boost low wages to levels well above the poverty line.

Senate panel OK’s huge OPEB bill by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

For the third time in as many years, a state Senate committee has approved and sent to the Senate floor a bill that would lock in tens of billions of dollars worth of unfunded retirement health insurance coverage promised to New York government employees.

The bill in question, sponsored by Republican Sen. Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, is designed to prevent state and local government employers from even attempting to restructure other post-employment benefits (OPEB) without first bargaining such changes with public employee unions.
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