Prominent transparency and watchdog groups issued a memo of support for A.8175-A-2017 (Schimminger) & S.6613-B (Croci), similar bills that would create a website that would allow the public to see every taxpayer subsidy a business receives from New York State.
The Database of Deals is part of a larger Public Trust Campaign involving many of the groups signing the memo of support. The groups proposed the ethics reforms in response to numerous ongoing trials involving former leaders of the state legislature, senior staff to Governor Cuomo, and top campaign contributors and companies doing business with the state.
As an immediate step in restoring public trust, many of the groups have advocated for fundamental transparency and oversight to be addressed in the budget as part of any new economic development spending, including:
- Passing a Database of Deals (A.8175-A-2017 (Schimminger) & S.6613-B-2017 (Croci));
- Making government-affiliated not-for-profit organizations subject to FOIL and the Open Meetings Law. Several entities involved in the alleged bid rigging scandals did not follow laws that agencies do, and that may have prevented the corruption before it occurred;
- Increasing Funding for the Authorities Budget Office which oversees economic development spending;
- Limiting campaign contributions by vendors doing business with the state. Part L in the Governor Cuomo’s Good Government and Ethics bill is a starting point for more comprehensive restrictions.