Subsidy Sheet: State Comptroller Contract Review Is Powerful Anti-Corruption Medicine


1. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said that restoring his office’s contract oversight powers is one of the best ways to curb NYS corruption in an interview with New York Now. While not always the result of pay-to-play, business subsidies continue to be vulnerable to corruption, particularly in a state with some of the highest contribution limits in the country. Read the full interview here.

I think it’s key for the governor to sign it,” DiNapoli said. “I think, this legislation, signing it would be the strongest signal that the governor could put out there that, in fact, the page has been turned, and this is an administration that’s doing things differently.”

2. At Boondoggle, Pat Garofalo says that NY’s up-to-$5.5 billion subsidy for Micron, a computer chip manufacturer, is the best example of how the “Chip Wars” have gone wrong, pointing to the 2022 general election as one of the main reasons the deal went through.

In the post, Pat recommends our write-up from last week on the hyperbolic Micron job numbers being promised. Both Forbes’s Richard McGahey and the Investigative Post’s Jim Heaney recommend it as well! 

From Boondoggle:

While it’s certainly a good thing to have domestic chip manufacturing, some bad policy decisions and the generally bleak politics of corporate incentives are putting taxpayers on the hook for a lot, with little in the way of guarantees that their investment will pay off. 

3. Long Island’s Hempstead Industrial Development Agency extended a property tax abatement for a shopping center for another five years (Real Estate Weekly).

Liz’s Library

Welcome to Liz’s Library, where our Senior Research Analyst Elizabeth Marcello highlights timely research on corporate welfare. 

There’s an empirical case for requiring government subsidies to businesses to be transparent. Jensen and Thrall (2021) examined legal challenges to public records requests for deal-specific, company-specific information in a Texas discretionary business subsidy program. They conclude that “a company is more likely to challenge a formal public records request if it has renegotiated the terms of the award to reduce its job-creation obligations.” Makes sense to us, which is why Reinvent Albany long championed and finally won a new 2022 law (finally) passed as part of the budget: The New York State Economic Development Corporation is now required to create a “Database of Deals” which provides data on all subsidy deals, job commitments, and jobs created.

Fun fact: Recent research is showing workers have been slower to return to the office in cities with longer commutes and more cars. New Yorkers have the longest commute in the country, and NYC is the only city in the country where less than half of households own a car. Despite this, for some reason, the state wants to give more than a billion dollars in tax breaks to Vornado, a developer and major campaign contributor to the Governor, to build ten office towers in Midtown Manhattan.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker and Elizabeth Marcello, and edited by John Kaehny. Please send questions and tips to We look forward to hearing from you!