The Database of Deals bill “is teed up to pass, all the governor has to do is say ‘yes,’” our John Kaehny says in an interview with the Investigative Post. “She can take New York from being awful to one of the better states when it comes to business subsidy transparency.”
The Database of Deals is sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie (Queens) and Assemblymember Monica Wallace (Buffalo region). For the first time, the same bill was included in both the Senate and Assembly one-house budgets. It requires subsidy reporting to include a uniform definition of job that would allow apples-to-apples comparisons of how much different state programs spend to create one position. The “Database of Economic Incentives” set up by Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Development in 2021 does not allow for this type of analysis.
In a March 22nd letter, 18 groups led by Reinvent Albany called on state leaders to implement four business subsidy transparency reforms including the Database of Deals and restoration of Comptroller oversight powers. The latter is also in both legislative budgets, but the Assembly bill goes much further by fully restoring all of the powers that were removed at the behest of Cuomo in 2011 and 2012.
From our joint letter:
Since the massive 2015 “Buffalo Billion” bid-rigging scandal – which involved contracts worth more than $600 million – NYS has not passed legislation improving the transparency and accountability of the state’s $5 billion in annual business subsidies or $100 billion-plus in procurement contracts.
After months of mixed messages from all parties, a Buffalo Bills stadium deal may finally be at hand: The Buffalo News reports that the NFL will vote on funding for a new stadium today.
With a deal close, there’s been one piece after another on why spending $1 billion on a stadium is a bad idea:
- The Citizens Budget Commission writes about what would be an appropriate stadium subsidy, stating that New York “does not have a good track record of demonstrating that economic development programs yield benefits exceeding their costs.”
- At Field of Schemes, Neil deMause writes (unfavorably) about how Gov. Hochul could go around the NYS legislature to subsidize the new stadium.
- The Times Union Editorial Board questions the wisdom of giving the Pegulas, who own the Bills, a billion dollars.
- The Daily News Editorial Board says NYers shouldn’t pay more than “a small share” for the new stadium.
- The Syracuse [dot] com Editorial Board also says Gov. Hochul shouldn’t “give away the store.”
- And our John Kaehny called $1 billion for a stadium “grotesque” (Politico).
As we’ve said again and again, stadium subsidies do very little to create jobs, and the state’s own report admitted that the new stadium would not significantly benefit the economy.
Last but not least, the American Economic Liberties Project released its “Dirtiest Dozen” report about NY’s worst economic deals. Topping out the list is the notorious Plug Power deal costing NY $4 million per job, followed by Tesla SolarCity (#3), Penn Station (#11), and other notorious boondoggles. From the report:
New York State is one of the most prolific users of so-called “economic development” incentives in the country, spending some $10 billion annually at the state and local level on subsidies to select businesses. For all that, New York has very little to show other than empty factories, underwhelming job-creation numbers, and a slew of corruption scandals.
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 email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!