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]

Albany’s other big raise by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The hastily approved raise for New York’s governor had an unintended consequence: sweetening the Tier 6 pension plan enacted in 2012 and saddling taxpayers with an untold amount of higher pension costs. [Read_more]

How solid is budget’s foundation? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

With the Legislature getting ready to pass a budget for the fiscal year starting April 1, some fresh data and analysis emerging from the world outside Albany in the past week or so has raised new questions about the durability of the state's revenue base. [Read_more]

Where NY’s school money goes by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

It’s commonly perceived that New York’s education funding system directs more money to wealthier, whiter schools than to poorer, less white schools – and that the distribution of state aid reinforces those inequities. Looking at the totality of school spending across the state, however, different patterns emerge. [Read_more]

Senate moves massive mandate by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

A Republican-sponsored bill that would impose a massive unfunded state mandate on local governments was unanimously reported out of Senate committee this week. [Read_more]

Medicaid déjà vu by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

In a "Groundhog Day"-like replay of tactics from last year, health-care interests are again using an unlikely threat of spending cuts in Washington to demand special treatment in the upcoming state budget.

The question now is whether the governor and the Legislature will play along with the movie for a second time in a row – and whether it will have the same ugly ending.

[Read_more]