Thursday, April 7, 2011

Accountable Economic Development

A proposal in both chambers of the NYS Legislature has been introduced that aims to provide accountability for public investments aimed at sparking job growth.
The bill (SB 4428 and AB 6312) would prevent public authorities, not-for-profit corporations and (controversial) industrial development agencies from facilitating the sale of bonds or borrow funds over $50 million unless they meet a more rigorous criteria than currently imposed.
(Editor's Note: It is not clear whether the public authorities or not-for-profit corporations would refer to the state's Economic Development Corporation, which is responsible for most of the state's economic investments.)
According to the bill's memo, this proposal is based on the idea that a clear public benefit should be demonstrated before authorizing public funds. In terms of economic development, this is likely to mean that a company can demonstrate that they're going to create good paying jobs with public funds. The memo promises, "This bill will protect public funds and ensure that a true public benefit will be achieved when large economic development projects are subsidized by New Yorkers."
Republicans in the Assembly have come out against this proposal in the past, but it was able to reach the floor in that chamber. Apparently it wasn't a major priority for the Democrats, though, because it never received a floor vote. The bill is new to the Senate, but it could have a chance because it is sponsored by a Republican.

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