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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
The New York City Council's vote of support on Tuesday for a statewide single-payer health plan showed curious timing from a fiscal point of view. Two weeks before, sponsors of the New York Health Act told union officials that they were changing the bill in ways that could cost the city billions of dollars per year. Details of these high-stakes changes won't be available until next month, yet Council members chose to back the measure anyway – effectively endorsing a blank check. [Read_more]
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday again vetoed a pair of union-backed bills designed to sweeten pensions and discourage use of private contractors by state agencies—a positive signal for his third term. [Read_more]