E. J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and founding senior fellow of the Empire Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank based in Albany, NY. He writes on regional, state, and local issues, recommending policy changes and reforms to increase economic growth. McMahon’s work has focused on New York’s unsustainable public pension and retiree health care costs, the out-migration of New York residents to other states, and a blueprint for cutting and restructuring New York’s deficit-ridden state budget. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Barron’s, Public Interest, New York Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, and New York Sun.


For more than three decades, McMahon has been an Albany-based policy analyst. He was deputy commissioner for tax-policy analysis and counselor to the commissioner in the state Department of Taxation and Finance; director of minority staff for the state Assembly Ways and Means Committee; vice chancellor for external relations at the State University of New York; and director of research for the Public Policy Institute. At the Public Policy Institute, McMahon’s research included “The Zero Option,” calling for a state-employee pay freeze, which was subsequently imposed by Governor Mario Cuomo in the early 1990s; and “Measuring Up in Our Schools,” a 1989 study recommending a model school-accountability report card, later implemented by New York’s Department of Education. He led the development and drafting of a historic personal income-tax cut enacted under Governor George Pataki in 1995, and was an advisor to Pataki’s budget transition team in late 1994. McMahon served on a Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) task force that recommended new disclosure requirements for derivatives and hedging instruments, which GASB adopted in 2007.


Earlier in his career, McMahon was a staff writer and columnist for various newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Knickerbocker News. He holds a B.A. from Villanova University.