Subsidy Sheet: Reinvent Albany at NYS Budget Hearing: Freeze/Cut $5B in Business Subsidies


Yesterday, we testified at the Joint Legislative Hearing on Economic Development

We called for fair and evidence-based investments in physical, social, and workforce infrastructure. Think Erie Canal, MTA capital plan, community colleges, UPK, expanded childcare, and workforce development.

Unfortunately, Governor Hochul’s budget proposes huge increases in business subsidies and even resurrecting the much-ridiculed Start-Up NY. In our testimony, we urged the Legislature to freeze all existing subsidies, reject all of the governor’s new and expanded subsidies, and rollback subsidies like the Trump-era Opportunity Zone tax break and the power of local IDAs to take revenue from public schools. 

Fortunately, many Legislators rightfully noted deficiencies with Empire State Development’s existing database of deals and a lack of transparency around the agency’s secretive cost-benefit analyses. Sadly, ESD’s Commissioner Hope Knight was unable to answer many basic questions, including about the Penn Station redevelopment plan and why ESD is using an overly complicated and opaque financing scheme that gives Vornado $1.2 billion of taxpayer dollars. (Full testimony here. Rewatch here.) 

New York Corporate Welfare This Week

  • About half of all the data fields in New York’s long-awaited “Database of Deals” are empty! We fought for it since 2014, yet 23 of 52 data fields in Empire State Development’s Database of Economic Incentives remain blank.
  • New York IDAs starve public schools of $1.8 billion a year. report  released this week from Good Jobs First details how much the state’s schools lose to IDA tax expenditures
  • Governor’s budget includes a $455m state-backed loan for the Belmont horse racing track, which the horse racing industry will be expected to pay back with subsidies from the state.
  • We call the resurrection of unworkable Start-Up NY “dunderheaded.”
  • State pols fall over themselves to cheer 55% boost in film/TV subsidy to $700m/year, while the Executive Budget cuts spending on general government by -5.4% (page 10), including a -8.8% cut to Upstate Community Colleges (Page 117).
  • The Niagara County IDA loves subsidizing fast food joints

Fun fact: New York IDAs starve public schools of $1.8 billion a year. (A fact so not nice we’re printing it twice.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Elizabeth Marcello and edited by John Kaehny.