School budgets sail under cap by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Yesterday’s school budget votes proved once again New York’s school districts aren’t having much difficulty staying under—or overriding—the property tax cap. [Read_more]

Essential Plan surplus hits $1.2B by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The balance of unspent money in the Essential Plan Trust Fund ballooned to a new high of $1.2 billion as of March 31, records from the comptroller's office show. The surplus more than tripled since the same time last year – even as the Trump administration disrupted federal aid for the program, which provides health coverage to low-income New Yorkers, and the Cuomo administration diverted $635 million in Essential Plan funds to subsidize struggling hospitals. [Read_more]

NY per-pupil spending reaches $23k by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's spending on elementary and secondary education reached a record $23,091 per pupil in 2017, once again topping  all other states in this category, according to the latest U.S. Census data. [Read_more]

NY state pension fund earnings slump by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York's Common Retirement Fund (CRF) fell nearly two percentage points short of its investment earnings target last year—and the state's other major public pension funds are on the same sub-par track. [Read_more]

Nursing home grades decline by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The scores of New York's nursing homes dipped to an average of 3.19 out of 5 stars in the federal government's latest Nursing Home Compare report card, down from 3.33 in January. However, the national average dropped even further, from 3.35 stars to 3.06. New York's standing improved from 31st to 27th among the 50 states. [Read_more]

NY job gains remain below US rate by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Today's jobs report from the state Labor Department carried the usual "Jobs at All-Time High" headline (when the "high" disappears, think recession).  

Also as usual, the April numbers showed a wide regional variation in private job creation rates around the state—and New York as a whole continues to trail employment growth nationally. [Read_more]

Suffolk’s questionable contracts by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

New York’s most populous suburban county has just ratified a trio of labor deals with its largest unions—and, in the process, showcased some of the worst aspects of collective bargaining across the state. [Read_more]

Bill would subsidize union strikes by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

A bill passed by the state Senate last week could shift millions of dollars in costs from labor unions to the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) program while making employers indirectly subsidize union strikes. [Read_more]

Embracing the OPEB iceberg by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

In what's become an annual tradition, New York state lawmakers have re-introduced bills designed to prohibit or restrict changes to expensive continuing health insurance coverage for current and future government retirees—which would effectively lock in a growing unfunded liability of more than a quarter trillion dollars for taxpayers across the state. [Read_more]

Budget pushes health costs higher by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The new state budget features a larger-than-usual increase in Medicaid spending and two new coverage mandates for private insurers – adding to the already steep costs of health care for New York's taxpayers and policyholders. [Read_more]
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