how-sc-works-install-6264946A state oversight board this week is set to green-light a $486 million payment to the SUNY Polytechnic real estate subsidiary that is at the heart of the federal probe into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative.

The funding is slated for the Fort Schuyler Management Corporation, the nonprofit “public benefit corporation” established by SUNY Poly to finance and oversee the construction of the $750 million SolarCity manufacturing facility in Buffalo.

The three-member Public Authorities Control Board, consisting of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget director and representatives of the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader, has final sign-off on the payment. The board meets Wednesday to consider a total of $559 million in grant and loan requests by Empire State Development Corp., the state’s economic development arm. Unanimous approval is required for the funds to be released.

The governor’s office itself has acknowledged that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating possible improper lobbying and conflicts of interest related to the Buffalo Billion and related economic development projects. As E.J. McMahon explains in City Journal:

Quite apart from whether Bharara uncovers any criminal wrongdoing, the Buffalo Billion project is highly questionable both as a matter of public policy and as a business proposition.

Another project on the PACB agenda Wednesday is ESD’s request to direct $22 million to the Empire Outlets, a retail project on Staten Island’s north shore that’s already received $25 million from state taxpayers through the capital pork slush fund formally known as the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SMFP). The board will also vote on allowing $210 million in backdoor borrowing by the Dormitory Authority for that same program.

About the Author

Ken Girardin

Ken Girardin is the Empire Center’s Policy Analyst, performing detailed analysis of data and public policy in support of the Center’s research work.

Read more by Ken Girardin

You may also like

Hospitalization rising in some areas

Coronavirus hospitalizations are surging in parts of upstate, including three regions that the Cuomo administration authorized to begin reopening today. Read More

Essential Plan surplus hits $3B

As Governor Cuomo pleads for financial help from Washington, one of his state's programs is sitting on $3 billion in unspent federal aid: the Essential Plan. Read More

More fiscal turmoil for Medicaid

In a sign of pandemic-related strain on state finances, the Cuomo administration is postponing a series of multi-billion-dollar Medicaid payments over the next three months. Read More

Upstate escapes the worst

With the coronavirus pandemic hitting some parts of New York much harder than others, Governor Cuomo has signaled that he will begin to relax shutdown restrictions in low-virus parts of the state. Here's a closer look at how infection and fatality rates vary from region to region. Read More

Another Medicaid payment delay

State Medicaid spending dropped to nearly zero in March as the Cuomo administration again delayed payments to balance the state's books. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's cash report for March, posted on Wednesday, showed just $9.2 million in Medicaid disbursements. The state's share of Medicaid spending averages almost $2 billion per month. The comptroller's numbers reflect so-called Department of Health Medicaid, which covers the bulk of the program but excludes most spending on recipients with mental disabilities. Read More

Why New York?

#NYCoronavirus: It's increasingly apparent that New York is suffering more severely from the coronavirus pandemic than any other part of the U.S. and most of the rest of the world – raising stark questions for city and state leaders. What is it about New York, and especially New York City, that made it especially vulnerable to infection and death? And how can that be changed before the next virus breaks loose? Read More

Covid-19 testing rates vary by region

#NYCoronaVirus: Downstate New Yorkers are three times more likely than upstaters to have been tested for Covid-19 – and four times more likely to have been positive when checked. Read More

Winning last year’s battle

The new state budget finally takes credible steps to address the Medicaid crisis of recent history. What's missing is a clear plan for weathering the far larger crisis of the present and future. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.