Push for economic development transparency

NY Capitol News

GOP lawmakers said on Wednesday that taxpayers deserve more accountability for the billions spent each year in economic growth, especially in light of failed projects such as Buffalo Billion.

“What’s the holdup, why are we not voting?” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Geneva) said.

The Assembly’s Republican minority banded together on Wednesday calling on Democrats to put to the floor for a vote two bills on government transparency. With the billions spent in economic development and tax breaks each year, lawmakers say that there is not enough evidence that taxpayers are getting the bang for their buck.

“We have a Governor who is spending our money unchecked, with no balance, with no public input, with not enough scrutiny.”

The two bills would make state contracting more transparent and allow for people to search online what companies are receiving tax breaks.

“The more secrecy there is the greater the risk of corruption and we have seen corruption play out in the state level,” Blair Horner, Executive Director of NYPIRG, said.

Mark: It’s unfortunate that we in New York have the tagline we don’t tolerate corruption we demand it. And that’s the problem,” Assemblyman Mark Johns (R-Rochester) said.

“Everybody thinks Albany is corrupt. These two bills would bring transparency back,” Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie) said.

Both of these bills passed in the Senate almost unanimously. However, the bills are being stalled in the Democrat-led Assembly, despite one of the bills being drafted by the Democratic State Comptroller and having a Democrat sponsor Assemblywoman Crystal People-Stokes.

“I thought at first, this is a good bill, but a deeper dive into it I really kind of saw that it is not a good bill,” People-Sokes said.

Assemblywoman People-Stokes says the bill would require SUNY and CUNY contracts to go back to the state comptroller for approval, prolonging the process and payment for those acquiring the contracts.

“Some folks out at UAlbany abused the system but you know what just because they abused I don’t think that folks are abusing it at Stony Brook, at University of Buffalo…to add further delay to a process that is working well throughout the State of New York would be a mistake.”

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