Now the state is facing complaints by districts that the process to obtain their piece of the pie is too lengthy and complicated. A study by the Empire Center called the rollout to local districts "sluggish and haphazard." The fiscally conservative center also questioned how the borrowed money is being spent, with such a sizable portion going for construction, not the new technology on which the bond issue was sold to voters.
Voters in 2014 approved a Cuomo-pushed $2 billion bond act designed to help local school districts purchase needed new technology. But to date, not a dime has been spent on the effort.
Over the past three years, the state budget has set aside about $1.1 billion into a program to fund local projects across the state. But critics say the program is lacking oversight.
The pork may be returning to the state budget.
State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo quietly have stashed away $1.2 billion for pet projects, and they are starting to spend it: about $187 million for 588 projects across New York, a report from the Empire Center, a watchdog group in Albany found.
New York State’s $1 billion capital project slush fund is dispensing borrowed money across the state outside public scrutiny, but two local governments have inadvertently given New Yorkers a glimpse of its inner workings.
A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a “secret slush fund”, used by Governor Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight.
Gov. Cuomo’s payment of $16 million to keep CBS’s “The Late Show” in New York, when there was zero real threat of it leaving, is the kind of boondoggle Stephen Colbert might mock in his monologue — if he weren’t the one cashing the check.
But that gratuitous giveaway of tax dollars, announced last year, turns out to have been the tip of a very big and ugly iceberg.
State leaders are planning to borrow $5 million to help CBS pay for renovations at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, the home for the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert," according to state records.
That means state taxpayers are on the hook for $5 million, plus interest.