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The holiday season is picking up, and that means it is time for Albany to dish out taxpayer-financed handouts to insiders.
That’s right, it’s New York taxpayers’ least favorite event of the year as the Governor’s seventh annual Hunger Games is coming up next week.
In 2011, the Governor established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term economic growth plans in their areas. These councils have since shelled out $4.6 billion for the initiative, and they’ve got little to show for it.
Upstate residents were promised a program that would revitalize their regions. Instead, job growth held at a 2.7 percent rate between 2010 and 2016, far behind the national average of 11 percent. Even worse, 88 percent of net jobs in those regions were in low-wage sectors.
Not to mention that the annual progress reports published by each Council fail to provide sufficient information on whether the projects met expectations.
For years, New Yorkers have watched their money go to politically-connected insiders, as the program seems built to foster conflicts of interest. In fact, almost half of the members of the Central New York REDC have received grants through the process.
Even the regional nature of the councils is largely an illusion, as much of the decision-making power rests in Albany, and ultimately the Governor.
Yet, the state is ready to do it all over again this year with a process that offers little transparency and no accountability. The councils will be competing for up to $150 million in capital funds, $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits, and for the designation of “Top Performer.”
The propaganda spectacle of the season is expected to happen in Albany on Wednesday, December 13.
Join Reclaim New York today, and stop accepting out-of-touch economic development spending.