Four Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


1. Reinvent Albany and six watchdog groups asked State Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger to hold a hearing on NY business subsidies (State of Politics). The Senator’s office responded by saying that she intends to hold a hearing sometime in January. View the letter here.

The groups, led by Reinvent Albany, urged lawmakers on the state Senate Finance Committee in a letter released Monday to hold a public hearing on state subsidies and economic development efforts in New York … “The overwhelming majority of studies by independent scholars have found that business subsidies are not an effective use of public funds,” the groups wrote in the letter.

2. The Investigative Post does a great deep dive into how stadium subsidies do almost nothing to benefit local economies, citing subsidy experts across the country.

A new stadium for the Buffalo Bills would boost the Western New York economy as much as a new Target store. Which is to say, very little.

3. Last week, the horseracing industry argued that the massive state subsidies it receives are well spent and provide hundreds of jobs (The Blood Horse). Advocates pushed back, demanding that the subsidies be redirected to schools.

“Black, brown, and low-income students across New York State attend public schools that have been underfunded for too long. Ending subsidies that benefit millionaire and billionaire horse owners and redirecting the funds to education is part of righting this injustice and creating an equitable future for all New York’s children,” Jasmine Gripper, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, said in a written statement shortly before the hearing’s start.

4. The New York City Council renewed the J-51 program, which gives tax breaks to landlords that renovate their apartment buildings (The Real Deal). At a hearing last month, the Legal Aid Society and Community Service Society argued that the program should be fixed or allowed to lapse due to poor design and lax enforcement. From their testimony:

The J-51 tax expenditure program is an extraordinarily expensive program. In fiscal year 2021 it cost the city $295.9 million in lost taxes. But the benefits it produces are not proportional to this cost. Although it certainly does help to make needed improvements in some apartments that would not otherwise be improved, it is poorly targeted and also bestows unnecessary tax breaks on owners of apartments that are not affordable and that would have been improved even without the tax incentive.

This is the final Subsidy Sheet for 2021. See you next year!

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