SOTS health-care roundup by Bill Hammond | | NY Torch

Health care was the dog that did not bark at Governor Cuomo's combined State of State and budget address on Tuesday. Instead of announcing a major plan to expand coverage, he called for appointing a commission to study "options for achieving universal access" and report back by December – a clear sign that he has no stomach for tackling the issue in this session.

Janus goes to college by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

New York public university faculty members and graduate assistants are choosing not to pay union dues at a higher rate than any other major group of state government employees

Cuomo’s budget: a fiscal first take by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Disentangled from the politically turbocharged, high-volume rhetoric of his State of the State message, the first Executive Budget of Governor Andrew Cuomo's third term is largely a stay-the-course affair—for better and worse.

Budget would renew big mandate by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

One of New York’s most costly unfunded mandates—compulsory binding arbitration of police and fire contract disputes—would be renewed for an extra-long period under one of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget bills.

Same old Senate (GOP) by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Getting the jump on Governor Andrew's Cuomo's budget presentation, the much-diminished state Senate Republican conference today issued a counter-budget plan—which doesn't even begin to add up.

Lead elements of the "Real Solutions" plan from the Senate GOP Minority include "forcefully rejecting new taxes and fees" and "fighting" for a permanent property tax cap as well as a statutory state spending cap.

A first look at de Blasio care by Bill Hammond | | NY Torch

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a splash this morning by announcing a plan "to guarantee health care" for every city resident. Although his office called it "the largest, most comprehensive plan in the nation," the proposal appears – based on limited details provided so far – to be a relatively modest expansion of existing safety-net programs.

AOC’s 70% hit on NY by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

The prospect of a 70 percent top federal income tax rate, as floated by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a TV interview, seems to have struck a nerve across the political spectrum. But whether she realizes it or not, her home state of New York would have a lot to lose from a return to nearly confiscatory federal tax rates on high earners.

NYSUT’s messy math by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

An updated federal filing by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) shows that the statewide teachers union lost fewer dues-paying members than previously reported in this space—and that NYSUT has been playing fast and loose with federal reporting rules.

Top 10 NYTorch posts of 2018 | NY Torch

Sweetheart deals with labor unions, expensive “clean energy” schemes, sky-high school spending, and—last but never least—taxes, taxes and more taxes.

Those were the subjects of the most-read posts on the Empire Center’s NYTorch blog in 2018.

NY’s job growth divide continues by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

New York's latest employment data continue to show a lopsided divide between upstate and downstate.

As of November, the Empire State added 114,600 private-sector jobs on a year-over-year basis—a 1.4 percent increase during a period when private employment nationally grew by 1.9 percent, or one-third faster rate—according the monthly jobs report released today by the state Labor Department.