More than 75 members of the clergy and faith leaders in New York this week urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to support a trio of measures meant to increase transparency and oversight in economic development deals in the state.
The measures are being called for as state lawmakers and Hochul finalize a state budget that is due Thursday.
“We urge you to support the most basic transparency and accountability measures outlined in the one-house budget resolutions as the first step in reforming a system that has been lacking oversight, accountability and transparency for decades," they wrote in a letter sent this week to Hochul. "We urge you to restore the public’s faith in state government by, at a minimum, supporting three proposals that would create greater transparency and accountability."
The proposals have been long-sought by good-government advocates with the goal of boosting accountability in the billions of dollars New York spends in order to attract and retain businesses and grow jobs. Critics have contended the money has done little to increase job growth in the state, while also creating an environment where corruption can occur.
Broadly, the measures would create a database of economic development deals and subsidies going to businesses, require an independent analysis of economic development programs and spending and re-empower the state comptroller to pre-audit economic development deals.
The changes have been called for over the last several years in the wake of a sweeping bribery and bid-rigging case that drew in major developers in western New York who had received billions of dollars in economic development aid from the state.