bill-3283920For the last six years, the Empire Center has been involved in multiple lawsuits aimed at protecting and clarifying taxpayers’ right to public information, mostly data that details how tax dollars are spent.

We’ve learned some things about the judicial process.

First, the process is s-l-o-w.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, however, has an opportunity to make it better. A bill, passed by the Assembly in March and the Senate in June, awaits the Governor’s signature. That bill was delivered to his desk on Monday.

The legislation would cut the time agencies have to file an appeal after a court has ordered the disclosure of information in an Article 78 proceeding from nine months to two months (more here). That’s plenty of time to compile and file an appeal while balancing the need for a reasonably expeditious process.

Second, the process is expensive.

A second bill, also delivered to the Governor’s desk on Monday, would make it easier for a plaintiff to recoup the costs and legal fees when an agency has no “reasonable basis” for withholding records or when the plaintiff has “substantially prevailed.” (It’s not the panacea we suggest, but it is stronger than what’s on the books now.)

An aggrieved taxpayer can spend months and thousands of dollars in an attempt to hold an agency accountable for trying to withhold public records. A more reasonable chance of recouping some of that cost will help ensure more accountability.

The Governor has promised New Yorkers a more open New York. He can make good on that promise, in part, by signing these bills.

About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

You may also like

Remembering the scandal that brought down Health Commissioner Howard Zucker

The resignation of Dr. Howard Zucker as state health commissioner marks the end of a term marred by scandal over his role in managing the coronavirus pandemic. The much-debated compelling nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients, though it origi Read More

After 10 weeks, all but five of the Empire Center’s 63 requests for pandemic data remain unfulfilled

Over the 10 days that Hochul has been in office, there has been no further progress on the Empire Center's record requests. Read More

New York’s health benefits remain the second-costliest in the U.S.

New York's health benefit costs increased faster than the national average in 2020, leaving it with the second-least affordable coverage in the U.S. The state's average total cost f 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

Can Cuomo still be impeached?

Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump have more in common than boyhood homes in Queens. Like Trump, Cuomo could still face impeachment and an impeachment trial despite a promise to resign as Governor later this month. Read More

The Gov’s pension

There are several (dozens? hundreds?) of unanswered questions as the fallout from Andrew Cuomo's resignation earlier today continues. Among those are questions related to his pension, some of which can be answered, sort of. Read More

The Health Department’s FOIL Responses Signal an Indefinite Wait for Pandemic Data

The quest for comprehensive data on New York's coronavirus pandemic hit a bureaucratic roadblock this week Read More

A Study of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes Raises Doubt About New York’s Minimum Staffing Law

A newly published study of COVID-19 in nursing homes links larger numbers of employees to higher rates of infection and death for residents – raising fresh doubts about New York's recently enacted "safe staffing" law. 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!