More STAR in New York’s Future? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With school property taxes continuing to rise across New York State, Albany's leading Republicans are pushing for a major expansion of the STAR (School Tax Relief) program in the next state budget. But more STAR spending will do nothing to reduce New York's oppressive state and local tax burden. Instead, it will promote faster growth in school spending and property tax levies unless it is tied to a firm cap on school district budgets or taxes. [Read_more]

FINAL PATAKI BUDGET: SPEND NOW, CUT TAXES LATER by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With school property taxes continuing to rise across New York State, Albany's leading Republicans are pushing for a major expansion of the STAR (School Tax Relief) program in the next state budget. But more STAR spending will do nothing to reduce New York's oppressive state and local tax burden. Instead, it will promote faster growth in school spending and property tax levies unless it is tied to a firm cap on school district budgets or taxes. [Read_more]

But Remember: It’s All for The Kids | NY Torch

In a single recent 12-month period, the state's largest teachers' union spent $150 million on itself, according to a new study by the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability.

FERA understandably found it hard to resist linking the "lavish" spending habits of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) with the union's perennial demand for more state education spending. [Read_more]

Paterson OK’s unionization of home-based child care providers by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

On October 4, Governor Paterson signed S.7451/A.10764, a bill that allows home-based child care providers to unionize -- adding more than 65,000 child care providers to the already powerful Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Paterson's signature codifies... [Read_more]

Legislators Still Aim to Sweeten Public Pensions by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The employer share of pension contributions in New York has risen by more than $3 billion in the last five years, straining taxpayers throughout the state. Yet state legislators this year have passed dozens of bills—and introduced literally hundreds of others—that would further expand the already generous retirement benefits of government workers. [Read_more]

Private Property and “Public Use” in NY | NY Torch

New York State and New York City were pushing the envelope on "public use" condemnations of private property to benefit other private owners even before the practice was ratified in a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision last week.

The Kelo ruling provides more than enough justification for a careful reconsideration of eminent domain and its uses by the UDC and other government agencies in New York. Will any of our elected officials take the hint? Stay tuned.
[Read_more]

It’s Alive | NY Torch

With little advance notice or fanfare, a constitutional amendment (S.1) that would give the Legislature much more power to shape the state budget was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee today. The Assembly version (A.2) was approved back in February, so the measure is now a big step closer to a statewide voter referendum. [Read_more]

“Excelsior” or Bust? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State spending has increased faster during the four fiscal years since the latest economic downturn began in 2001 than during a comparable recession and recovery period in the early 1990s. [Read_more]

Spending Still Rising In State Budget by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

State funds spending would rise at twice the inflation rate under Governor Pataki's proposed 2005-06 Executive Budget. And despite much-ballyhooed "cuts," state-funded Medicaid costs next year would increase nearly 13 percent. [Read_more]