Guide to Albany’s Pay to Play Wish List 2015: Governor Edition



Ace Albany reporter Liz Benjamin published an article that should be printed and stuck to the bulletin board of every reformer and government watch dog group. Liz somewhat diplomatically titled her post A Guide to What the Big Cuomo Donors Want in 2015. We think her post is such an important reference that we summarized it for ourselves, to use as quick guide to the upcoming legislative session. (We hope Liz does follow-up guides for the State Senate and State Assembly.)

Governor Cuomo has received $47 million in direct campaign contributions between December 31, 2010 and November 30, 2014. Just 341 contributors (about 6% of all donors) gave $23.8 million. Here’s what the highest of his high donors want.

Real Estate Industry

  1. NYC rent control laws expire in June 2015. Landlords would like controls on rent hikes reduced.
  2. Mega tax abatement programs 421a and J-51 expire in June. ***
  3. Brownfields tax credits extension to 2017 has not yet been signed by Cuomo.

*** This is a three star corruption risk item. These tax breaks have been at the center of numerous pay-to-play scandals, including most recently, tax breaks for the ultra-expensive One57 luxury condo building. These breaks were mysteriously snuck into the last authorization of the bill, and featured in the termination of the Moreland Commission by Governor Cuomo.

Construction Unions

(Particularly, the International Union of Operating Engineers)
  1. Bank settlements for infrastructure.
  2. Design-Build authorization. (Trades want Project Labor Agreements.)

Cable TV Companies

  1. Extension of Cablevision’s $54m a year tax break for Madison Square Garden.
  2. Comcast / Time Warner mega-merger.
  3. Film and TV production tax credits.

Charter School Supporters

(Wealthy Wall Street figures want more charter schools and public funding for those schools. In this case, campaign contributors do not have a pocket book interest in the issue, but are still using money for influence.)

  1. Mayoral control of schools sunsets June 2015.
  2. Cap on number of charter schools.