MINORITY LEADER JAMES N. TEDISCO
November 7, 2008
Commissions Operating with Taxpayer Dollars
In response to news that the State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness still operates with a $400,000 appropriation - even though it issued its final report back in April - Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today called for an investigation into whether other commissions that have also concluded their missions continue to operate on the taxpayer's dime.
Jay Gallagher of Gannett News first reported on the State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness still operating with taxpayer monies. Tedisco immediately wrote to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to determine if other state commissions - paid for by New York taxpayers - continue to function in a similar inefficient and wasteful manner. Tedisco pointed to the state's burgeoning budget deficit and debt as the impetus behind his drive to investigate the "ghost ship" commissions.
"New York State is in the midst of a fiscal crisis, the likes of which we haven't seen in quite some time. We have a budget deficit of $5.4 billion. Our debt is over $52 billion. Wall Street continues suffering aftershocks from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and credit crunch. State government is considering further budget cuts and some interest groups are pushing billions in crippling, new taxes. Without question, it's imperative that state government lead by example in tightening its belt to ferret out any waste and inefficiencies," Tedisco stated.
"One place to begin is investigating how many state commissions continue operating, despite having served their original purpose. Case in point is the State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, which was convened by former Governor Spitzer back in 2007 and issued its final report in April of 2008. With New York State mired in fiscal crisis, is there any reason why this commission - with a budget of $400,000 - continues being paid for by New York taxpayers? It boggles the mind," Tedisco stated.
"This is a 'ghost ship' commission - it continues operating even though its work was already completed. I have a sinking feeling that this ghost ship commission isn't the only one sailing on the taxpayer's dime. That's why I asked Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to launch an investigation of whether there are other state commissions operating in such an unsupervised, unaccountable manner," Tedisco said.
"When our Assembly Minority Conference talks about cutting out all the 'fat' and inefficiencies from state government, this is exactly what we are referring to. Who knows how many millions in taxpayer dollars have been wasted on these ghost ship commissions? We need answers because taxpayers deserve accountability," Tedisco concluded.