Palmesano, Colleagues Push Assembly Leadership to Bring Bipartisan Reform Bills to Floor

Needed measures would increase transparency, accountability and oversight of failing economic development programs.
June 13, 2018

With just days remaining in this year’s Legislative Session, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) and his Minority colleagues are urging the Assembly Majority to end their blockade of common-sense, bipartisan reform bills that already passed nearly unanimously in the state Senate.

“This legislation would promote transparency, accountability and oversight of the state’s taxpayer-funded economic development programs. These programs are supposed to create jobs for the middle class. Right now, the only place they’re creating much work is the U.S. Attorney’s office,” said Palmesano.

One of the bills, A.6355-A, would restore the comptroller’s oversight of the state’s procurement process. The other bill, A.8175-A, would create a comprehensive, searchable online database of all of the state’s taxpayer-funded development projects. Both have Majority sponsors in the Assembly but are being blocked from consideration on the floor by their conference leadership.

“There’s no good reason to hold up these common-sense reform bills,” said Palmesano.

“This is about checks and balances,” said Palmesano. “The administration has complete control of these programs, and they’ve abused it. Massive campaign donations flow in, questionable state contracts flow out, and taxpayers are left with the tab. How can they be trusted to do the right thing when we don’t know what they’re doing until we read about another criminal investigation in the newspaper? These bills are important because transparency and accountability are important.”

Palmesano noted that a string of high profile corruption cases underscores the need for reform. The governor’s top aide and campaign manager is going to jail. Another top administration official awaits trial for public corruption associated with the Buffalo Billion initiative. There is an ongoing investigation into a healthcare giant that donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the governor in exchange for $25 million in state grants.

Additionally, Palmesano noted that he cosponsors more comprehensive legislation that would go farther to reform state contracting laws. “These two bills, however, would be an important first step to help regain trust and integrity back into state government for the taxpayers we serve.”

“In the state Senate, there’s bipartisan agreement that we must do something about this. They’ve taken action. In the Assembly, we need our colleagues in the Majority to make this a priority. When public money is misused, it makes it that much harder for us to deliver what New Yorkers really want and need- bold and aggressive tax relief,” said Palmesano.