March 2011 Posts

Mar
31
2011

New Yorkers Kept in Dark About Outcomes of Recovery Zone Facility Bond Program

Cover photo by Scott Lenger. Used with permission.

UPDATE April 7
After the release of our report, and as reported in Crain’s Insider last week, we have confirmed that New York City Economic Development Corporation officials agreed with one of our recommendations regarding transparency and are considering ways to update the agency’s website to better inform New Yorkers on the status of proposed projects.

A city entity charged with allocating $122 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds regularly announced preliminary approvals and held public hearings on projects but left New Yorkers in the dark when deals fell through according to new report released today by Good Jobs New York. The report: Kept in the Dark: Poor Reporting on New York City's Recovery Zone Bond Deals exposes a confusing and un-transparent process that prevents New Yorkers from holding companies accountable for job creation. The report is available at www.goodjobsny.org.

“Despite historical changes in subsidy disclosure at all levels of government as part of the Recovery Act, the Recovery Zone Facility Bond Program fell dramatically short,” said Bettina Damiani director of Good Jobs New York and an author of the report.  “GJNY spent countless hours breaking down the byzantine approval process to determine which projects received these special bonds when basic details should be at every New Yorker’s fingertips.”

Mar
31
2011

1 in 5 Subsidies in Minnesota Fail, State Frequently Fails to Enforce Clawbacks or Disclose Subsidies

A new investigative analysis by two Star Tribune reporters, David Shaffer and Glenn Howatt, shows that Minnesota’s economic development subsidies often fail to create jobs, to be disclosed to the public or to undergo clawbacks if they fail to meet contract benchmarks.

Mar
31
2011

Stimulus Accountability: There’s An App For That

(This post originally appeared on the States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery blog)

Mar
25
2011

Bondholders of Yankee Stadium Garage Bonds Get Extra Innings

The April 1 deadline for the Bronx Parking Development Corporation to get its act together is no prank. Thanks to a glut of parking space at the new – subsidized to the hilt - Yankee Stadium, the parking garages, also subsidized to the hilt, have gone so unused the owners are struggling to pay its bondholders. It was widely reported that the $237 million in private activity bonds to finance the garage were going to default at the end of next week. However, today Juan Gonzalez at the Daily News reports that directors at the firm agreed to dip into its debt reserves (again) to pay the bondholders as well changes to its operations, like getting approval for expenses from an appointee chosen by the bondholders.
 
We can’t say New Yorkers didn’t see this coming.

Mar
21
2011

Report: Slashing Ineffective Corporate Subsidies Can Bolster State Budgets

Eliminating or reducing ineffective corporate subsidy programs can make a significant contribution to the efforts of state governments to address budget deficits, according to a report released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.