Six Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


1. Reinvent Albany and three other groups wrote a letter to Governor Hochul asking her to be transparent about the financing of the new Penn Station project, which appears to provide colossal tax abatements for Vornado, a real estate developer and big political donor.

We are particularly troubled that documents and financial analyses provided by Ernst & Young have not yet been published, despite being half paid for by tax dollars and already in the possession of the project developer, Vornado. It is completely contrary to the intent of the Freedom of Information Law that a company negotiating with the state on a massive deal, and the state government itself have a partially tax-payer funded report that is being kept secret from the public. This is not consistent with a government agency in a democratic society or the law of the State of New York which states “government is the public’s business.”

2. Investigative Post does a deep dive into how the state and Erie County might pay for a new Buffalo Bills stadium, which may receive the largest stadium handout in US history.

A $1 billion subsidy would dwarf what governments have spent on other NFL stadiums, said Pat Garofalo, director of state and local policy for the American Economic Liberties Project … “This would be the largest stadium subsidy in American history,” he told Investigative Post.

3. Local governments – including Genesee County in upstate New York – are bidding against each other as they pander for semiconductor plants by offering up hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars (NY Times).

Officials in Arizona and in Genesee County in upstate New York are also trying to woo [Samsung]. So, too, are politicians in nearby Travis County, home to Austin, where Samsung already has a plant. Locations in all three states “offered robust property tax abatement” and funds to build out infrastructure for the plant, Samsung said in a filing. Congress is considering whether to offer its own subsidies to chip makers that build in the United States.

4. Activists launched a new campaign to end NYC’s 421-a tax break, which is currently costing the City upwards of $1.7 billion a year.

This week, Housing Justice for All and elected officials will launch a campaign under the banner #HouseNY, calling on the governor and legislators to repeal Affordable Housing New York, a tax break also known as 421a, and to pass good cause eviction … Opponents of 421a say the $1.7 billion a year in taxes it wipes out could be more directly spent on affordable housing.

5. The controversial new blood center in Manhattan’s Upper East Side will receive up to $450 million in tax incentives from New York City if approved (NY Times).

James Parrott, an economist with the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School … said the deal would be one of the largest of its kind in city history, potentially reaching $450 million over 25 years, the typical term for incentive deals … “It’s a tradition that has been widely questioned in the past and will continue to be, even though the city has arguably greater economic needs at this point,” Mr. Parrott said. “This looks like a really sketchy deal providing a hugely costly subsidy for a very uncertain result.”

6. The new NY Islanders area on Long Island may be one of the last sports venues in the NYC metropolitan area for some time – and thus one of the last to receive massive government subsidies (Curbed).

Everyone else, it seems, has gotten what they wanted. And we, the taxpayers, have subsidized a whole lot of it, to the tune of more than $2.6 billion plus many millions more in ongoing tax breaks.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker, Policy Analyst at Reinvent Albany. Please send questions and tips to tom [at] We look forward to hearing from you!