Senate OKs less local say on cops by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Many of the faces have changed, and so has the majority party, but the state Senate is more united than ever in its willingness to weaken disciplinary procedures for cops and firefighters accused of wrongdoing. [Read_more]

Albany’s Rx for higher premiums by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Dozens of the health-care bills percolating through the Legislature in the closing days of session have one thing in common: They would add to the already high price of health insurance in New York State. [Read_more]

Pension woes for 1199 by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Two pension funds affiliated with 1199 SEIU, the state's largest and most influential union for  health-care workers, recently disclosed that they are in critical status due to funding or liquidity problems for an 11th straight year. [Read_more]

Rochester schools: bad to worse by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

There's good news and bad news about Rochester schools from a new study comparing the variation in educational quality within urban educational systems.

The good news: measured by standardized pupil proficiency scores, there's only an 8.6 percentage point gap between good and bad schools in Rochester.

The bad news: even Rochester's good schools—those in the 75th percentile—have the lowest proficiency scores among the 68 largest urban school systems in the country. [Read_more]

The pension piece of “prevailing wage” by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York’s AFL-CIO has issued a statement blasting the “misinformation campaign” by business groups fighting organized labor’s push to impose union pay levels on private developments receiving public subsidies.

There is, indeed, plenty of misinformation wafting around this issue—but virtually all of it originated  in the union camp. [Read_more]

Albany pork binge update by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

New York lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo last year tapped their favorite slush funds for more than $500 million in pork barrel spending, according to the latest tally posted at our SeeThroughNY transparency database. And before the current session ends in two weeks, the Legislature could once again jack up its favorite pork appropriations. [Read_more]

NY’s green new dud by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

New York got less electricity from renewable sources in 2018 than it did the year before despite significant state intervention. [Read_more]

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]