Earlier this month, Gov. Cuomo paid a visit to the centerpiece of his upstate economic development strategy: a massive, still unfinished “gigafactory” taxpayers spent $750 million to build and equip for SolarCity, a money-losing company with a foggy future.
“This is the economy of tomorrow,” the governor gushed, according to a Buffalo News account. “It’s such a metaphor — a symbol of everything we’re doing.”
Indeed. But rather than symbolizing a shiny high-tech future, the solar-panel factory could become a monument to what US Attorney Preet Bharara described as “pervasive corruption and fraud” allegedly infecting Cuomo’s signature economic development programs.
ALBANY--"This scheme is unusual in it's brazenness, it's stupid," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman came down hard on SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Thursday. After a year long investigation, the A.G. announced felony charge...
"It’s time to more closely scrutinize the entire overblown premise of New York State’s economic development programs."
START-UP NY, New York’s signature economic development program, made headlines for creating just 408 jobs in its first two years of operations. However, bigger disappointments may lie ahead.
"Start-Up New York is proof positive that taxes aren't the only thing that's hindering business in the state of New York. It's clearly something bigger," Empire Center Policy Analyst Ken Girardin.
E.J. McMahon, president of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, said music producers and game developers are getting a "very sweet deal" by piggybacking on the film industry's lobbying. Much of the subsidized business was already here, he said.
A job-creation program highly touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration created just 408 new jobs in its first two full years, despite an advertising campaign that cost state taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
The decision by the nation’s largest solar panel provider to locate a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Buffalo, and to create other jobs in Western New York, could be a needed shot in the arm for a city and a region that’s been declining economically for many years. But there are significant risks and unanswered questions associated with the state government’s willingness to commit the bulk of its “Buffalo Billion” resources to the massive SolarCity factory on the site of the former RiverBend steel plant.