img_7049-e1438630466332-150x150-6368795The new state budget will fund a 35 percent expansion of a murky $1.1 billion pork-barrel slush fund controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers.

The Capital Projects appropriations budget bill adds $385 million to the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SMFP), which uses money borrowed through the Dormitory Authority to fund pet projects. The additional money was not included in the governor’s Executive Budget.

So, who insisted on adding to the fund—and why? As usual, there’s no answer, and no justification offered for one of many deals reached behind closed doors by Cuomo and legislative leaders. 

The SMFP was created in 2013 with a $385 million appropriation to support generic capital expenses of local governments and school districts. It has been expanded in every annual budget since then—appearing only in the final product. Along the way, the description of eligible purposes has been expanded to include “economic development” projects, provided that they “create or retain jobs.”  But there are no clear criteria for project selection, which appears to be shaped largely by political considerations.

Cuomo’s capital projects financing plan indicates that only $125 million has been spent out of SMFP to date. Among other things, those funds have been earmarked for an outlet mall on Staten Island, a hotel renovation in Syracuse, and overdue payments for the SolarCity factory construction in Buffalo.

Last summer, the Empire Center obtained a list of projects that had sought or received SMFP funding. That list can be searched in the pork database on SeeThroughNY.net.

You may also like

Minimum wage for home care aides is likely to mean bigger raises for downstate than upstate

The newly enacted wage hike for home care aides is likely to increase workers' pay more than three times as much in the New York City area as in other parts of the state, according to a review of labor data. Read More

The flawed arguments behind ‘Fair Pay for Home Care’

As they contemplate a major increase in Medicaid spending on home care for the elderly and disabled, state legislators are relying on information that's outdated, incomplete or inaccurate – and neglecting to think through the predictable consequences. Read More

The debate over Medicaid home-care funding needs a reality check

The push in Albany to boost wages for home health aides is seemingly disconnected from the larger realities of the state’s long-term care system. As they , officials in the home care industry are warning that the state faces an of in-home caregivers Read More

Answers needed on Governor Hochul’s health-care budget

The health-care agenda laid out by Governor Hochul in her budget proposal this week leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here are a few of them. Read More

Another Hochul To-Do: Timely Financial Reporting

The state will spend a record $212 billion in the current 2022 Fiscal Year, under the budget its elected leaders adopted in April. Read More

Health Research Inc. Turns Over its Payroll Records Despite Claiming To Be Exempt from FOIL

The full payroll records of more than 2,400 de facto state employees are available to the public for the first time after being released by Health Research Inc. Read More

Emergency Billions Pose Opportunity—and Risk—for NYS Schools

New York schools are to post publicly today plans for spending a huge pile of unexpected and unbudgeted cash. Read More

New York’s Medicaid Rolls Kept Pace with a Nationwide Surge During the Pandemic

New York's Medicaid and Child Health Plus programs added three-quarters of a million enrollees during the coronavirus pandemic, roughly matching the pace of a national surge in sign-ups. 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

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@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.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!