Reinvent Albany, along with partner organizations, advocates for subsidy transparency reforms for greater accountability in the award and spending of economic development subsidies. We have identified five priority reforms:
- Require competitive and transparent contracting for the award of state funds by all state agencies, authorities and affiliates. Use existing agency procurement guidelines as a uniform minimum standard.
- Transfer responsibility for awarding all economic development awards to Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), and end awards by state non-profits and SUNY.
- Empower the comptroller to review and approve all state contracts over $250k.
- Prohibit state authorities, state corporations and state non-profits from doing business with their board members.
- Create a ‘Database of Deals’ that allows the public to see the total value of all forms of subsidies awarded to a business — as six states have done.
The groups further urged state leaders to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest by exploring options to limit campaign contributions from anyone who has or is seeking a state contract. Nineteen states and NYC have such “pay to play” laws, New York State does not.
Below is a snapshot of the advocacy we have done around subsidy transparency: