“State of Subsidies” will publish this week on news outlets including ProPublica, The Times Union of Albany, The New York Daily News and three upstate dailies published by Community Newspapers Holding Inc., including The Niagara Gazette, The Lockport Union Sun and Journal and The Oneonta Daily Star. The Buffalo News is publishing a column on key series findings.
Interviews about the series will broadcast on public radio stations statewide on The Capitol Pressroom and WNYC’s Morning Edition.
Here are links to the stories and related content:
Sunday, March 26
- Online story: Billions in subsidies have failed to revive the upstate economy.
- Newspaper story: Alternative versions of story above, published in The Times Union of Albany and Community Newspapers.
- Column: Jim Heaney’s take on Cuomo’s failed economic development strategy, published in The Buffalo News.
Monday, March 27
- Newspaper story: Job growth soars in New York City while languishing upstate, published by The Times Union of Albany, Community Newspapers and The Public.
- Online stories: Corning Inc. has mastered the art of obtaining subsidies; also, development agencies fail to comprehensively vet companies seeking subsidies. Both published by ProPublica.
- Newspaper editorial: New York Post cites “State of Subsidies” in editorial on poor upstate job growth.
- Radio: WNYC interview with Jim Heaney.
Tuesday, March 28
- Online story: Corning Inc. has mastered the art of obtaining subsidies. Also published by ProPublica, The Times Union of Albany and Community Newspapers, including the Niagara Gazette. Also, a related Times Union column by Chris Churchill.
- Radio: Susan Arbetter interviews Jim Heaney on The Capitol Pressroom. Joined by E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy, and Ron Deutsch of the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Wednesday, March 29
- Story: Development agencies fail to comprehensively vet companies seeking subsidies. Also published by ProPublica, The Times Union of Albany and Community Newspapers.
Thursday, March 30
- Story: State policies and practices make it difficult to track and analyze subsidy programs to determine their effectiveness. Also published by The Times Union of Albany and Community Newspapers, including the Niagara Gazette.
- Radio: Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom interviews Jim Heaney. Also, Jay Moran of WBFO interviews Heaney.
Sunday, April 2
- Story: Employment in New York City surges while upstate languishes, published by the New York Daily News.
Why the series? Few states dole out more in economic development subsidies than New York.
Assessing their effectiveness has always been vexing. There are a multitude of programs, each with its own way of record keeping. Transparency is spotty and consolidation of data to enable analysis, rare.
ProPublica, working with Investigative Post and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has built a searchable database of nearly 16,000 economic development deals statewide. See for yourself how state and local officials are dishing out subsidies.
Explore the data »
To cut through the morass, Investigative Post, ProPublica and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism teamed up to assess the state’s economic development efforts since Cuomo took office in 2011.
Using records obtained under the state Freedom of Information Law, state agency reports and the state’s open data portal, they built a database that tracked some 16,000 subsidy deals involving 12 of the state’s largest economic development programs and locally controlled industrial development agencies.
Graduate students at Columbia scrubbed and formatted the data, which ProPublica then assembled into a master database used by reporters. ProPublica also built a news app which is embedded into the online version of stories starting Monday that allows the public to query the data.
Reporters also analyzed employment data, interviewed more than 45 officials and experts, and reviewed about a dozen reports and audits of subsidy programs conducted by the state comptroller and watchdog organizations.