One state comptrollers’ report, one New York Times investigation, and one trial should be just the impetus New York voters need to get their minds into this November’s state elections.
On Monday, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report on the recently enacted state spending plans that concluded the state faces “real fiscal challenges” in the near future.
He stated that the rate of state spending will outpace revenues over the next three years, and the lingering threat of federal funding cuts make the state’s financial future even murkier. Yet, he said, there are no plans to boost the state’s reserves or make dents in state spending.
Remember, the governor proposes these budgets and state lawmakers approve the final spending and revenues.
It’s clear from the comptroller’s report that they aren’t doing enough to control state finances and avert potential economic problems down the road.
A second signal to voters to pay attention is a report by The New York Times that examined the results of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic project — the state’s attempt to revitalize New York’s second largest city by investing $1.5 billion (so far) into economic development projects there.
The results of all that investment, according to The Times, have for the most part been disappointing.
The report found, for instance, that the governor’s promise of 3,000 jobs in south Buffalo from a state-funded solar panel manufacturer had fallen far short of expectations. Tesla, which now operates the plant, only employs between 600 and 700.
Another example: An IBM innovation hub employs about half the 500 promised number of workers at lower-than-anticipated wages. Other projects have also fallen short on employment projections and in attracting viable companies, the Times found.
We elect people in state government to be custodians of our hard-earned tax dollars, not to waste them on expensive, speculative projects that don’t deliver.
New York voters also should be looking at the trial of former SUNY Polytechnic Institute leader Alain Kaloyeros, who along with three others is charged in a scheme that involved steering state contracts to favored developers.
The governor has not been charged by prosecutors or implicated in any of the crimes.
But the fact that some of the accused were Cuomo campaign contributors and that some had a close relationship with his office should be a concern to voters.
The alleged illegal activity and the lack of transparency in the dealings are another demonstration to voters of how the state is being managed.
Every single state legislative seat, as well as the offices of governor, attorney general and comptroller, are up for election this year. And the candidates will soon be coming around seeking your votes.
Before you decide who you’re voting for, consider how well, or how poorly, they’re representing you.