Board Approves $485.5m For SolarCity/RiverBend Without Getting Answers
Today, the Public Authorities Control Board failed to do its job, which is to hold state agencies accountable before approving huge sums of taxpayer funds. At a minimum, the PACB should have made representatives from the Cuomo administration publicly answer basic questions about how the SUNY Research Foundation secretly negotiated and approved a huge reduction in Solar City/RiverBend job targets with zero public notice or input — and no public announcement.
Why should the public have any confidence that other New York State economic development subsidy agreements are worth the paper they are written on?
This is about much more than SolarCity’s RiverBend plant. Why should the public have any confidence that other economic development subsidy agreements are worth the paper they are written on? The $750 million subsidy for SolarCity’s RiverBend plant was based on the promise of 1,450 well-paying factory jobs to reduce unemployment and poverty in Buffalo. Instead, Buffalo is getting 500 factory jobs and the promise of white collar and technology jobs.
We are disappointed in the PACB, which was created to ensure that the governor and state authorities are accountable to the public. The PACB did not ask the hard questions and did not get any answers that the press and public have asked about the governor’s use of state non-profits for state economic development programs. The PACB did nothing to ensure that the job targets for other highly subsidized state projects are honored.