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Empire Center relaunches as independent think tank

By Eric Reinhardt


The Empire Center for Public Policy, which started in 2005 as a project of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, has relaunched as an independent, nonprofit think tank, E.J. McMahon, the center’s president, announced Friday. 

The nonpartisan, Albany–based Empire Center will “stay focused on presenting ideas to make New York a better place to live, work and do business,” McMahon said in a news release.

“At the same time,” he added, “we will highlight obstacles to greater growth and prosperity in the Empire State, including high taxes, excessive spending and debt, unfunded liabilities, and costly public-sector collective bargaining mandates.”

The Empire Center says it played a “key role” in developing and promoting New York’s local property-tax cap, which was enacted in 2011. The center has also called public attention to the $250 billion in unfunded retiree health-care promises made by state and local governments in New York; documented and explained the causes of New York’s public pension-funding crisis; and analyzed recent state tax increases, according to the news release. Some key recommendations in the center’s January, 2010 “Blueprint for a Better Budget” were adopted in subsequent state spending plans.

The Empire Center sponsors the website, which features searchable online databases of government salaries, pensions, union contracts, government spending, and other information.

Lawrence Mone, president of the Manhattan Institute, said the institute’s spinoff of the Empire Center was “a tribute to the Center’s solid work and growing effectiveness.”

 ”The Institute is proud to have nurtured and built the Empire Center to the point where it can stand on its own as an organization focused on policy research and education in New York State,” Mone said in the release. “The Manhattan Institute will continue to work closely with the Empire Center while strongly encouraging private-sector support for the Center’s activities.”

McMahon will also remain affiliated with the Manhattan Institute as a senior fellow with the Center for State and Local Leadership, Mone said.

Empire Center for Public Policy, Inc. has received approval from the IRS to be fully exempt from federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, meaning contributions to the Empire Center are deductible to the full extent provided by law, according to the news release.


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