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Report: $7B in aid to companies needs more oversight

A new report says programs to provide economic

A new report says programs to provide economic development aid to private companies lack adequate oversight and accountability. (Credit: iStock)

New York’s hodgepodge of economic development incentives lacks standards and accountability for $7 billion of taxpayer subsidies that private companies receive annually, according to a report by a watchdog group.

The report, released by the pro-union group ALIGN, said subsidies in the form of tax breaks and grants are often awarded without sufficient transparency and notice to allow the public to understand what benefits are being given.

Although benefits are often given so that companies will hire additional workers, the mechanisms to “claw back” those subsidies if jobs don’t materialize are uneven across the different agencies and public authorities that grant them.

The report, “The $7,000,000,000 Wager: New York State’s Costly Gamble in Economic Development,” calls for standardization of performance goals and measures and greater access to information about how public money is spent to boost private companies.

To read the report, go to www.alignny.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/7-Billion-Wager-Web.pdf

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