After cuomo aide conviction, no excuse for economic development waste data recovery wizard

The corruption conviction for gov. Andrew cuomo’s former aide joe percoco is sparking ethics reform talk in albany again. While this is fine and good, what cannot be missed is that the state’s big-spending economic development programs were at the heart of this scandal.

Now, with a $4.4 billion state budget deficit, it is time to not only install independent oversight and transparency for these programs, but to stop wasting taxpayer money on them.

The evidence clearly shows hudson valley residents, and all new yorkers are not getting their money’s worth from albany’s economic development efforts.

Start-up NY is the signature example. A program pledged to jump start a new tech economy outside new york city, it has created just 722 net new jobs.Economic development


it has even been lampooned on john oliver’s "this week tonight."

The state spends over $420 million each year on handouts to hollywood film productions, which create extremely short-term jobs, often for out-of-state workers.

A USC professor who analyzes these programs points out studies show they aren’t worth the money, “all of them come to this conclusion it’s a negative return on investment.”

In the hudson valley, the regional economic development council (REDC) sends money to everything from legoland to simply funding local government – which on its face would not spark new industry.

The specter of conflicts of interest hangs over these entities, as members don’t have to publicly disclose their financial interests – though the assembly and senate offer proposals to change that.Conflicts interest

Then there’s the buffalo billion. The program that sparked bid-rigging scandals that have now seen joe percoco convicted of accepting bribes. The big $750 million solarcity factory at the center of the effort is behind schedule on job creation promises.

It’s all plastered over with the costly veneer of $350 million-plus in advertising. Though, around 40 percent of those ads run in-state. A sign they are too focused on spinning new york’s economic problems to voters, rather than attracting new businesses.

The corruption cases, the ads, the conflicts of interest, the promises that often fail to come true, all beg the question as to whether this is an honest effort to revive economies, or just a system of graft meant to enrich albany insiders.These programs

Areas north of westchester county were supposed to be aided. However, upstate job growth since cuomo launched this economic development approach in 2011 has been 2.7 percent. The national average was 11 percent.

Whether you look at the big picture, or specific examples, insider handouts and corporate subsidies aren’t working. It’s time for albany to stop wasting our money on these programs.

For their part, the senate and assembly budget proposals would add a “database of deals” to better track the results of subsidies (or lack thereof), as well as conflicts of interest reporting.

New yorkers need and deserve better though: investigations, independent oversight, and a stop to the waste.Hudson valley that means empowering the state comptroller to audit programs. Cuomo’s budget proposal would give power to political appointees instead.

On spending, at the very least, as citizens budget commission has recommended, there should be no increases. That would save around $700 million.

Still, given the rash of corruption and waste, new yorkers should demand more cuts from albany’s economic development scams. It is absurd for new yorkers to be forced to pay more in taxes, while the same programs driving corruption headlines remain flush with hard-earned tax dollars.

Domenick cocchiara is hudson valley regional coordinator for the reclaim new york initiative.Economic development find out more at https://www.Reclaimnewyork.Org/

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