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Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition Members Testify at Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Economic Development

Albany, NY—This morning, members of the statewide Getting Our Money’s Worth coalition testified at a public hearing on Economic Development in the 2011-2012 Executive Budget.

The Joint Legislative Budget Hearing gave members of the State Senate and Assembly the opportunity to ask questions of outgoing Chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, Dennis Mullen. It also provided opportunity for advocates to raise questions about the Governor’s proposed budget.

Matt Ryan, Executive Director of New York Jobs with Justice testified on the need for all of New York’s economic development initiatives to adopt high road performance standards, accountability standards and transparency reforms to ensure quality job creation is the primary outcome of our economic development structures.

Ryan explained, “Corporate tax subsidies could have a place in economic development efforts, but they’re in need of some common sense reform to transform them from corporate giveaways into smart, targeted investments that grow the middle class. Restructuring our economic development system around a regional approach, as Gov. Cuomo proposes, could be a crucial first step in fixing our failed approach to economic development. However, we must make sure that all entities responsible for job creation, whether local or statewide, and including the proposed Regional Economic Development Councils, adhere to common sense principles from the outset.”

Allison Duwe, Executive Director of the Buffalo-based Coalition for Economic Justice, was one of several coalition members that submitted testimony but was unable to attend the proceedings in person. Duwe emphasized the need for increased transparency in economic development spending at a time of severe fiscal and economic crisis. She cited the more than $8 billion lost to state and local governments due to corporate tax breaks each year.

Said Duwe, “Economic development spending is largely a “hidden cost.” With costs spread out among many departments, quasi-private agencies and authorities, subsidies and other incentives are difficult to total and mostly lay outside of the accountability and transparency that budget appropriations demand. We need a comprehensive inventory of all “front door” and “back door” spending for economic development. These line items should be reflected in the state budget to accurately reflect taxpayer costs.”

Read Matt Ryan’s full testimony here.


The Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition is a broad coalition of public policy experts, government watchdogs, labor unions, community and religious organizations, and concerned small business owners, workers and taxpayers. The statewide coalition is anchored by New York Jobs with Justice and the Coalition for Economic Justice.