Reinvent Albany has a number of major initiatives underway. We seek to:
1. Open New York State Government Information by putting it online via open data, open budget, open spending, OpenFOIL and other initiatives that put government’s digital information online where it can increase transparency, accountability, efficiency, encourage innovation and reduce corruption. We advocate for and support online tools like the governor’s OpenNY and OpenBudget, Open Book NY, New York Open Government and the Public Authorities Reporting Information System.
2. Boost NYC Transparency via the NYC Transparency Working Group a coalition of civic groups, civic technologists and others working for open data, OpenFOIL and other policy innovations that make NYC government more transparent. The TWG helped pass the NYC Open Data Law and is key advocate for NYC’s OpenFOIL initiative.
3. Foster Fiscal Honesty and an End to Raids on Dedicated Highway, Transit and Environment Funds. Albany must keep its promises to the public. Dedicated taxes and fees should be spent solely for the purpose they were intended: transit taxes for transit, roadway taxes for roadways, environment fund taxes for the environment. Unfortunately, Albany has diverted billions of dedicated taxes to plug the overall state budget gap. This has contributed to the underinvestment in the state’s decrepit roads, water systems and transit
4. Promote 21st Century Freedom of Information Law and Public Records. FOIL is the public’s single most important open government tool. We support new laws and practices which make FOIL more transparent and responsive by putting the FOIL process online like the federal government has with its FOIAonline system. We also support modern public records processes which recognize the importance of email and other electronic records.
5. Create a Rational, Transparent Process for Awarding Public Subsidies to Businesses
In 2014, NY State provided roughly $4.2B in subsidies to businesses. Business subsidies have skyrocketed compared to other types of state and local spending. We, and others from both the left and right of the political spectrum have serious questions about the efficacy of these subsidies, the process by which they are awarded, their benefit compared to other forms of public investment, and the corruption risk they create. In 2o15, we launched a new initiative that will scrutinize the various subsidies and assess their public benefit.