Back in early 2015, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) issued a fifteen page study of New York’s expanding economic development program titled “Bigger Not Better.” CBC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization devoted to influencing constructive change in the finances, and services of the state.
In the introduction of this report mention is made of some completed activities that have work out quite well. Business development, to stimulate job growth, is not one of them. As such, the following CBC report conclusion is worth reading:
“Economic development has been a major focus of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first term, and the growth in investments is likely to continue. Although modest reforms have been adopted, most investments continue to be problematic with insufficient accountability and a lack of evidence-based targeting of incentives. The fundamental question of whether business activity has been induced by the governmental assistance provided by any and all of these programs remains unanswered.
To improve the cost-effectiveness of the State’s large investment in this area, the framework for designing and evaluating economic development programs identified by CBC in 2011 should be utilized. All investments should be coordinated and aligned to regional strategies, performance metrics should be standardized for all programs and across all regions, and more comprehensive disclosure requirements should be put in place so that the costs and benefits of each project can be weighed. In addition, all programs should be reevaluated for effectiveness before existing programs are increased or new ones are added. Four years into the Cuomo administration, economic development programs in New York are certainly bigger, and now they should be made better.
I agree. Various studies, audits and evaluations of the program have highlight a significant range of issues. Time to step back and conduct an independent cost/benefit analysis least we spend yourselves into oblivion. Hal Peterson