Work from Tim Hoefer

What They Make, 2012-13 by Tim Hoefer and Daniel Russo |  | Reports

Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2012-13 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]

One small step by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Reportedly, the terms of a tentative agreement between the teachers' union and board of education in Westchester's Bedford Central School District would do away with step increases for newly hired teachers. [Read_more]

Spitzer as Gotham fiscal steward? by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer is making a last-minute bid to get on the Democratic primary ballot for New York City comptroller. But, writing in the Daily News, E.J. says Spitzer’s record as governor “raises serious questions of his suitability for this particular job.” [Read_more]

Cuomo pulls back the curtains on state data by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo today marked Sunshine Week by launching Open New York, a really cool portal for finding government data online -- without having to file a Freedom of Information Law request. The site launched with 267 data sets populating it. That's a respectable number, but a fraction of what could eventually be on the site. [Read_more]

School budgets settled by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Just two school districts -- out of nearly 700 in New York -- will be limited to the new zero-tax hike contingency budget provision of the state's new property tax cap law next year. [Read_more]

The cap-buster count, part II by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Nineteen school districts that attempted to override the tax cap in last month's school budget votes will present revised budgets to voters tomorrow. Nine of those districts are resubmitting budgets below the cap, seven have budgets at the cap and three districts will try again to override the cap. [Read_more]

A glimmer of hope for renewed transparency by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Reversing decades of precedent, all but one of the state's public pension funds are now refusing to release the names of hundreds of thousands of retired employees who collect billions of dollars a year in taxpayer-guaranteed pensions. [Read_more]

A grey lady correction on minimum wage by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

The New York Times has agreed to print a correction of this article about the minimum wage issue, which includes inaccurate information implicitly attributed to Empire Center senior fellow Russell Sykes. [Read_more]

The cap-buster count by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Forty-nine school districts* were seeking to override the state's new property tax cap in yesterday's school budget votes. Of those, our review of regional media coverage suggests 30 districts* passed an override, while 19 districts voted their budgets down. Seven of the proposed overrides failed to collect even 50 percent of the vote. [Read_more]

Look Out, NYers, the Taxman Cometh by Tim Hoefer |  | Newsday

'The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax," Albert Einstein once complained to his accountant. Non-geniuses scrambling to meet next week's Tax Day deadline would surely agree. [Read_more]

328,000 reasons to stop keeping secrets by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

The Charlotte Valley School District in Delaware County had a tough employment situation on their hands until just last week. Former building principal Edgar Whaley had been a focus of controversy — going back at least a year. But that’s all settled now, thanks to a secret, lucrative contract settlement passed by the school’s board of education late last week. [Read_more]

City pension data available — again by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

On Wednesday, in an apparent move to appease open government advocates and curious taxpayers, City Comptroller John Liu announced that the New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS) Board of Trustees had adopted three resolutions that would “provide the public with unprecedented access to information concerning the pension system.” [Read_more]

NYSUT is in the house by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Taxpayers from around the state held a small but boisterous rally in Albany today to show support for Governor Cuomo’s proposed 2% property tax cap, which has been passed in the state Senate but is stalled in the Assembly. [Read_more]

Thanks Nisky! by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

We’ve been calling on the state Legislature to implement a policy of “proactive disclosure” of public information – and the Niskayuna Central School District has just helped bolster our case. Recently, a local taxpayer questioned the size of increases in administrative salaries. She based her analysis on...

Public Payroll Watch by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo proposed a cap on Superintendent salaries earlier this week, but as it relates to bringing school district spending down, it’s the equivalent of trying to chop down a tree with nail clippers. [Read_more]