Resolutions passed by state lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session steered a total of $56 million to 1,675 pet projects across the state, according to data added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

The spending includes:

  • $600,000 to construct a solar-powered carousel in Buffalo.
  • $3.5 million to renovate the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
  • $24 million in educational “bullet aid” to schools, libraries and other organizations, including $1 million for the East Ramapo Central School District.

The six resolutions did not include the name of the requesting lawmaker, or, in most cases, a stated purpose for the funding, which was set aside in the state budget. The process was recently criticized by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, for both the lack of transparency and, in several cases, the use of debt issued without voter approval, also known as backdoor borrowing.

“Taxpayers never had an opportunity to so much as see where this money is going, let alone weigh in on it, before lawmakers voted to send $56 million out the door,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center. “These grants reflect political priorities, not the public interest.”

In addition to listing the grants approved last week, SeeThroughNY’s pork spending database has been updated to include the first look at the Capital Assistance Program, a $350 million slush fund created in 2008 and controlled exclusively by the state Assembly. Data from the state Senate’s equivalent, the Economic Development Assistance Program, was posted on SeeThroughNY in January. Both funds use backdoor borrowing to pay for projects. The SeeThroughNY pork database is New York’s only comprehensive listing of legislative pork, detailing more than $1.2 billion in spending.

To view the list, visit SeeThroughNY.net/pork_barrel. Users can filter or sort the data by year, recipient, amount and grant type, or can search by the name of the recipient.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and do business.

You may also like

Rec and Restroom Facility Projects Among Fresh DASNY Pork

A total of $87 million in new grants were steered to 174 local projects over the past ten months by Governor Cuomo’s State Dormitory Authority (DASNY) Read More

Cuomo Administration Approves Additional $45 Million in Pork Spending in 2020, Analysis Finds

The Cuomo administration approved more than $45 million in new pork-barrel capital grants last year.  Read More

Sen. Skoufis Spends More Than Any New Senator

Sen. James Skoufis, D-Newburgh, had $134,858 in staff and member office expenses during his first three months in the Senate, the most among newly elected members of that house, according to data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

More Capital Pork Flowing from Albany

The Cuomo administration has approved 2,740 capital grants for more than $1 billion in executive and legislative pork-barrel projects. Read More

Empire Center Releases 2018 Edition of “Checklist for Change”

The Empire Center today released its 2018 edition of “Checklist for Change,” a summary of more than 20 reforms needed to promote renewed economic growth and competitiveness in New York State. Read More

Another big Albany “oink”

A $500,000 grant to support a solar-powered carousel in Buffalo—raising that project’s total taxpayer subsidy to more than $1 million—was among the 1,782 local pork barrel projects awarded grants by state lawmakers in the final hours of their 2017 regular session. Read More

Pols Spent $7M on Postage Before Election

State lawmakers spent $7 million on postage for bulk mailings to constituents between April 1 and September 30, 2016, according to data added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Senate Spends On Office Furniture

The New York State Senate spent almost $2 million on “office furniture” during the six-month period ending March 31, according to the most recent legislative expenditure reports now searchable on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Meanwhile, the New York State Assembly paid more than $900,000 for “printing equipment” for its taxpayer-funded print shop in which it, like the State Senate, produces campaign-style mail pieces. Each house’s multi-million dollar operation pays for the design, paper, printing and postage with taxpayer funds. 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!