The Albany-based think tank and fiscal watchdog group Empire Center for Public Policy launched in 2005 as a project of the Manhattan Institute is being “re-launched” as an independent organization, the organization’s president E.J. McMahon announced.

“At the same time,” McMahon said, “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.”

In addition to producing studies on pension reform and the property tax cap, the Empire Center is also behind the website SeeThroughNY, which publishes salary, pension information and other records (the Empire Center and the Manhattan Institute have gone to court to get public disclosure of the pension data on occasion).

McMahon will remain a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, its president, Lawrence Mone, said in a statement.

“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. “The Manhattan Institute will continue to work closely with the Empire Center while strongly encouraging private-sector support for the Center’s activities.”