Government watchdogs are fighting the good fight, begging Democrats in Albany to stop ladling out billions in taxpayer cash to favored industries for dubious “economic development.” Alas, the Dems — led by Gov. Kathy Hochul — are set to double down all the same.
“Please. New York Democrats, freeze your misguided love affair with trickle-down economics and corporate giveaways,” Reinvent Albany’s Elizabeth Marcello pleaded at the Capitol on Monday.
“We already spend over $10 billion in state and local funds on corporate giveaways, and it’s not time to spend billions more on those discredited programs,” fumed Ron Deutsch, director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness.
But Hochul, with lawmakers’ blessing, aims to hand out even more taxpayer bucks — starting with a $380 million boost in “tax credits” to film, TV and Broadway theater companies, bringing the total giveaway to a cool $1 billion a year.
She’d also shell out $455 million for a “loan” to shore up Long Island’s Belmont Park race track.
Lawmakers pretend such handouts boost economic activity and jobs; in fact, they’re about buying votes and/or rewarding friends.
The Empire Center’s Ken Girardin notes that the state never gets back in tax revenue what it shells out to the entertainment industry, and the number of jobs it claims to “create or retain” is way “overstated.”
As for the Belmont cash, kiss it good-bye: Horse-racing has been on the decline for decades here, propped up only by the more than $200 million a year it gets from — you guessed it! — Albany.
Meanwhile, competition for the gambling dollar (casinos, online sports betting) is growing, dividing the pie into ever smaller slices.
Pols like Hochul pretend taxpayer dollars are theirs to do as they please with.
That’s how the gov wound up giving away $850 million in public money last year for a new Buffalo Bills stadium.
Of course, while she’s handing out your cash, she’s reaping handsome “donations” from recipients, such as one for $47,100 from filmmaker Steven Spielberg (after his “West Side Story” adaptation got a tax credit).
Sure, New York needs to worry about keeping companies, jobs and people here.
But a real turnaround requires fixing its high (and growing) taxes, onerous business mandates, underperforming schools and, above all else, spiraling crime.
Bribes will never do it.
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