ALBANY’S FANTASY AGENDA DRIVES NEW YORKERS’ REAL AFFORDABILITY CRISIS
The Governor and state lawmakers are about to return to Albany to kick off another legislative session.
It will be yet another exercise in backroom negotiations, and costly deals that make our state more expensive, and do little to clean up corruption. That is, unless New Yorkers step up and do something about it.
It’s not easy to keep an eye on Albany when politicians refuse to make major legislation available for the legally-required three days of review. It’s not easy when lawmakers do everything behind closed doors. It’s not easy when narrow special interests spend millions on lobbying and donations to keep your representatives listening to them.
But if you don’t, you’ll get more of the waste, and corruption that have come to define Albany’s agenda over recent years.
Here’s what Albany did last year instead of listening to the priorities of New Yorkers like you:
Before they took your money, Albany robbed you of your chance to hold them accountable.
Three-men-in-a-room negotiating was in full force. But this year Albany made a bad process into the worst process. Even though they took 10 extra days to actually pass the entire budget, lawmakers still rushed through bills, and couldn’t spare the three days New Yorkers are supposed to have to review legislation.
Albany Buys $15M GONDOLA Before Anything Else
Despite it not even being recommended by the State Fair taskforce, building a $15 million gondola was so important to the Governor it was shoved through in emergency legislation. The only emergency here is Albany spending more money taxpayers don’t have on bells and whistles like a freakin’ Gondola.
The $200 Million New York Trail to Nowhere
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, the road to New York taxpayer hell is paved with wasted tax dollars.
New York State already has more than 1,200 miles of trails statewide. But somehow, despite over $50 billion in state operating debt, Albany thinks spending $200 million on a glorified sidewalk to Canada is an urgent need.
Dollar Bills for the Bills
If taxpayers weren’t dizzy enough, this is a $2.3 million hit they’ll want to forget.
The Buffalo Bills must have a great lobbyist, perhaps he goes around taking legislators’ lunch money and stuffing them in lockers if they don’t hand tax dollars to his football team. Because the Bills keep getting cash from Albany.
The NFL shared over $7 billion in revenue with teams last year, that’s just extra money on top of whatever else they make. We know, it’s really easy to burn right through $220 million when you keep having to buy airfare for 50 people to Toronto, but it’s not taxpayers’ job to cover the bills for the Bills.
Tax Break for Union High Earners
This is the policy equivalent of picking your pocket. In a budget season filled with terrible proposals, the bad stuff that we knew about was bad enough. But Albany had a surprise giveaway to their politically powerful union pals. One that was never presented publicly. They snuck in a rule that allows union members to deduct their dues from state taxes. Adding insult to this injury, only the highest-earning union members will truly benefit, because middle-income folks generally don’t itemize their returns.
Buffalo Billion x2
“Buffalo Billion X2” is what the Governor is calling $500 million in new spending on projects in Western New York. Hey, math was never the strong suit of government officials pursuing “economic development” programs.
But it’s a fitting title, because this program doubles-down on an approach that triggered federal indictments over bid-rigging. Solar City has waned and their near $1 billion factory is still empty. But before we see whether the last Buffalo Billion was a failure that led to criminal corruption convictions, Albany is going to blow more cash on a second round. It’s outrageous.
This reckless, poorly thought-out policy continues to flunk tests from all sides of the ideological spectrum.
The cost estimate formula was not publicly released, taxpayers could end up footing a bill into the billions. The unintended consequences could crush private colleges where students won’t get a taxpayer freebie. And the requirement that students stay in-state after graduation has kids wondering whether trying to find a job in New York’s struggling upstate economy is worth the trouble.
More Slush than a 7-Eleven Slurpee
The final slap in the face: Albany added another $385 million to the very same slush fund Sheldon Silver abused in his corrupt schemes.
The State and Municipal Facilities Fund is now $1.64 billion. It has no new transparency or oversight. It’s just a pot of your hard-earned money Albany politicians can spend at will. This practice is bad on its face, and the fund has the dirty track record to back that up.
9. $445M Hollywood Giveaway Books 3-year Deal
It doesn’t matter to Albany whether they need to hand out cash to film productions to get them to work here (spoiler alert: they don’t). State politicians are happy to keep shoveling out your hard-earned taxpayer dollars to their pals in the entertainment industry, as long as the campaign donations keep coming in.
This year, they signed you up to pay $1.26 billion more for the offensive Film and TV Tax Credit program.
And the last one? Well, we want to hear from you! Let us know in the below form what you think is the worst example of government waste in NY.