Empire Center for New York State Policy
The Empire Center for New York State Policy is a project of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research that is dedicated to promoting freedom, opportunity and enterprise in New York. The Empire Center was formed in January 2005.
Many of the projects undertaken by the Empire Center emphasize the use of public records as a means of tracking government spending.
Empire Center Ppojects
Public employee contracts
The Empire Center released a report in 2008 examining contract negotiations between the state and public employee unions showing that the tendency to keep details of such negotiations under wraps as long as possible was costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
The SeeThroughNY project is a web portal "designed to become the hub of a statewide network through which taxpayers can share, analyze and compare data from counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and public authorities throughout New York."
Through studying the information on the database, the Empire Center determined that over 4% of city employees made annual salaries of more than $100,000, as of early 2009. That was 18,361 employees out of a workforce of 427,759. The top paid employee was Department of Education Chancellor Joel I. Klein, who took home $250,000 a year.
At the transparency portal's one year anniversary, the Empire Center celebrated with an updated SeeThroughNY. The site already provided information on state contracts and payrolls, but now it included data on pork-barrel spending. The site provided a place for taxpayers to search for all representatives and look up pork-barrel projects in their hometowns.
NY Fiscal Watch provides information on tax-and-spend trends in New York. It contains memos, reports, articles, and testimony.
Public Payroll Watch
NY Public Payroll Watch tracks labor issues that affect the cost of state and city government in New York. It provides daily updates and news clips along with original research reports.