Tag: State Government

Jun 15

2022

Hochul’s lack of due diligence on expressway

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Gov. Kathy Hochul has committed $1 billion to cover a portion of the Kensington Expressway without benefit of any studies to assess the project’s updated cost or impact on the environment and health of East Side residents. Meanwhile, the state governor’s office and Department of Transportation are slow-walking Freedom of Information requests from Investigative Post seeking documents related to the project.  The state FOI law generally requires agencies to provide records within 20 business days of receiving a request. Twenty-six business days have passed since Investigative Post filed its requests. The DOT has said it intends to take up to[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Jun 12

2022

Monday Morning Read

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Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, an excerpt from which you’ll find below. Reinvent Albany has a good rundown of the good and bad of the session’s final flurry.  Among the bad: a $10 billion allocation, negotiated in the dark, to provide huge subsidies to the semiconductor industry. There’s good analysis here and here. New York Focus has more, on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s slush funds and lack of transparency. The state Legislature passed a two-year moratorium on cryptomining. Will Hochul sign or veto the measure? The industry has given big to her campaign and that of her running mate. So,[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Jun 9

2022

OTB reform bills stall in state Legislature

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After state auditors criticized the handling of public funds and resources at Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., a pair of Democratic state lawmakers sponsored legislation in hopes of changing the way the public benefit corporation operates.  The reform measures — sponsored by state Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster, and state Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo — were not approved by the state Legislature before the end of this year’s session that concluded Saturday. Kennedy’s bills passed the Senate, but not the Assembly. Wallace’s bill never got out of committee in the Assembly. Wallace said she plans to submit a revised version of[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Apr 18

2022

Q&A: Critiquing the state budget

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John Kaehny is executive director of the good-government group Reinvent Albany and a leading experts on state government. He and his team have been poring over the state budget, which as adopted April 6.  He offered this take in an interview last week with Investigative Post Editor Jim Heaney. Heaney: Before we get into dollars and cents, let’s talk about the process the governor and state Legislature used to determine how to spend $220 billion this coming year. Is it anyway to run a railroad? Kaehny: New York needs a better name than “budget process.” The governor and legislature have[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Mar 29

2022

State lawmakers object to Bills stadium deal

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New York state Assemblyman Ron Kim did not hold back on Tuesday when asked for his thoughts on the plan to commit $1.13 billion in public funds to help the billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills build a new $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park.  Tempering enthusiasm expressed on Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul and other advocates for the project, the Bronx Democrat described the Bills stadium proposal as “one giant scam” that he predicts will be a “horrible” deal for New York State.  “The process of how we got here speaks volume of where we are in the state[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Mar 28

2022

Taxpayer hit on Bills stadium tops $1 billion

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The fear: A new Bills stadium would cost taxpayers $1 billion. The reality: It’s going to cost even more. The deal announced Monday commits the state to spending $600 million upfront to help cover construction costs. Erie County would put up an additional $250 million. But the subsidies don’t stop there. The state is also on the hook for $100 million over 15 years to cover stadium maintenance and repairs. The county and the state authority created to oversee the stadium would be obligated to kick in $180 million over the 30-year lease for capital improvements. Most, if not all of[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Mar 24

2022

Hochul pressed on subsidy reform

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New York doles out more subsidy dollars than almost any state in the nation and one of its more noteworthy programs was marred by corruption. The problems have been evident for years, and especially since Investigative Post exposed bid-rigging in the Buffalo Billion program in 2014 that eventually sent one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top economic development officials, along with a major campaign contributor, to federal prison. So what have state officials done to promote transparency and accountability? Not much, according to a coalition of 18 good government groups whose philosophies span the political spectrum. In a letter earlier this[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Mar 14

2022

A step backwards on police accountability

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Last summer, the state Legislature peeled away exemptions to the state’s Freedom of Information Law that made it difficult for the public to obtain video recorded on officers’ body cameras and related evidence. Awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature now — during “Sunshine Week” — is a bill making “technical corrections” to that measure.  In fact, transparency advocates say, the bill on Hochul’s desk will eviscerate it.  “This is a disaster for holding police accountable and for New York State’s Freedom of Information Law,” lawyer-journalist James S. Henry of Sag Harbor, one of the backers of the 2021 police accountability law,[...]

Posted 9 months ago