1. Reinvent Albany called on NYS government to end fossil fuel subsidies and stop raids on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in budget testimony to the State Legislature this week. Passing the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Elimination Act will save NY $336 million annually, while RGGI has lost more than $250 million to raids since 2008, according to Environmental Advocates NY.
Raids damage public trust in government by taking funds away from their intended purposes. RGGI was established with the intention of combating greenhouse gas emissions. Diverting these funds for other uses runs counter to the program’s mission and makes New York less likely to be able to meet its climate goals.
2. NYC’s City Planning Commission will not endorse Governor Hochul’s plan to have Vornado Realty Trust build ten giant tax-free towers around Penn Station, pointing to unanswered questions about cost (Gothamist).
…The structure and terms of the GPP financing has significant economic implications and impacts on the City. The Commission urges ESD to address the financing for the GPP: it is a topic that must be concretely resolved, prior to affirming the GPP. (GPP is the state’s General Project Plan for Penn Station area development.)
3. At Boondoggle, Pat Garofalo covers the ongoing “Chip Wars” and the effect they might have on states, arguing that the subsidies for New York’s next plant might be “truly massive.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul claims to be actively negotiating with a semiconductor manufacturer for the Onondaga County site — and of course she won’t say which one or provide any others details — but we’ve heard that one before: New York was a stalking horse for both the Samsung plant in Texas and the Intel plant in Ohio, used to gin up more local payments rather than an actual location that was in the running. The desperation in New York to get something, anything, that smells like semiconductor manufacturing into one or both of those sites is palpable.
4. The City goes into the history of the 421-a housing tax break for real estate developers and why advocates and progressives say Governor Hochul’s reform plan falls short.
Historically, the affordable units — required in Manhattan and a few other areas — were targeted to people with modest incomes. But when the state legislature tweaked the program in 2016 — renamed Affordable New York — developers were alternatively allowed to set aside affordable units for people earning 130% of the median income in the region — more than $155,300 for a family of four.
5. In an op-ed, Jasmine Gripper and Art Rolnick write about how New York’s many boondoggles take funding from more essential programs like early childhood education (NY Daily News).
Our state leaders … have thrown money at private businesses in wild and wasteful ways. A data and call center in Lockport got a half-billion in subsidies amounting to $2.4 million for every job created. A money-losing start-up just got a quarter-billion in subsidies to create 68 jobs in rural Genesee County; that’s a ridiculous $4 million per job.
6. For Groundhog Day, Michael Farren and John Mozena show what advocates in NY and other states are doing to fight corporate handouts,which keep happening again and again and again and again (The Hill).
Because Congress seems uninterested in solving the arms race, some state leaders are taking matters into their own hands. Under the Constitution’s Compacts Clause, they’re developing an interstate compact that would allow states to credibly commit to ending all subsidy programs simultaneously. If Congress wants to help, it could provide preemptive consent … Meanwhile, legislators in New York, Illinois and Florida are considering bills that would ban the use of nondisclosure agreements that keep taxpayers – and even elected officials – from knowing key details about subsidy deals before they’re approved.
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] reinventalbany.org. We look forward to hearing from you!