Kolb, Assembly Minority Call For Action On Transparency & Oversight Reforms

‘New York’s Economic Development Programs are Broken, Ineffective and Corrupt.’
June 13, 2018

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua), Assemblyman Robert C. Oaks (R,C-Macedon), Assemblyman Raymond Walter (R,C,I-Amherst), ranking member of the Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry Committee, members of the Assembly Minority Conference and good-government groups called for immediate Assembly action on bills aimed at improving the transparency and effectiveness of the state’s economic development programs.

“Inaction from the Assembly Majority is simply inexcusable. With no explanation and no just cause, it continues to block much-needed reforms for no good reason,” Leader Kolb said. “New York’s economic development programs are broken, ineffective and corrupt. One would have to search long and hard to find another program so obviously in need of reform, and every day without action is an indictment on the Assembly Majority and evidence of its grossly-irresponsible approach to protecting New Yorkers’ money.”

Proposals by the Majority’s own members have inexplicably languished, such as Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes’ bill, A.6355-A—the Procurement Integrity Act already passed in the Senate—and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger’s “Database of Deals” bill, A.08175-A, which would allow the public to search economic development benefits that have been awarded. This inactivity and blatant failure to protect taxpayers, improve economic development and curb pay-to-play politics is offensive.

“Less than two weeks remain in this legislative session and time is short for the Assembly to act. If lawmakers truly want to crackdown on Albany corruption, they will pass the Procurement Integrity Act now. New Yorkers simply can’t afford another corruption-laden gut punch,” said Brandon Muir, Executive Director, Reclaim New York.

For the third straight legislative session, Oaks introduced bill A.5657-A to provide stronger oversight of taxpayer-funded programs, enact penalties for missing reporting deadlines, as well as require a comprehensive review of economic development programs and the tax code, and prohibit political contributions to appointing authorities. It also calls for the creation of a Lump-Sum Allocation Advisory Committee made up of the comptroller, the attorney general and the director of the Division of the Budget, who, together, would review allocation requests and make conflict of interest determinations.

“New York State is in desperate need of oversight of our economic development and lump-sum spending. This legislation begins the process of bringing integrity to the state’s procurement and spending practices,” Oaks said. “We’ve had too many scandals, too many trials, too few checks and balances, and too few actual jobs being created. New Yorkers should no longer have to stand by and watch their hard-earned money get wasted on inadequately managed state-funded projects. Now is the time for the New York State legislature to pass this important bill, which is a critical first step to protect our taxpayer dollars.”

“Economic development programs take hard-earned taxpayer money and give it to companies with the goal of creating jobs and improving the economy. Programs that fail to achieve those goals amount to nothing more than taxpayer theft,” Walter said. “The governor’s failed programs have plagued our state for too long. There is simply no excuse to let more New Yorkers’ cash get thrown into programs that have objectively failed. It is critical the Assembly take action to right this egregious wrong.”