SOTS health-care round-up 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. [Read_more]

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 [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

Albany’s elastic mandate by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

The Comprehensive Contraception Protection Act, which is speeding toward passage in Albany, is typically portrayed as protecting women. As a practical matter, though, some of its prime beneficiaries will be condom buyers who are predominantly male. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

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. [Read_more]

The price of losing the ACA by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

If the entire Affordable Care Act were struck down as unconstitutional – as a federal judge ruled on Friday – the consequences for New York's health-care system, and the state budget, would be significant. Assuming the decision is upheld on appeal (which many experts doubt), and assuming Congress does not intervene, the state would lose almost $8 billion in federal aid that subsidizes coverage for more than 4 million residents. [Read_more]
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