Public Has a Right to be Worried about Accountability, Transparency and Corruption on Cuomo’s watch, now dont we?

 

In April 2014, Cuomo nefariously decided to disband an ethics and corruption panel designed to investigate corrpution at the State level. This move is not without stark criticism and debate. According to the NY Times:

Voters across New York overwhelmingly disagree with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s decision to disband a commission that he had appointed to investigate corruption in state government, according to a poll released on Tuesday by Siena College.

 

Mr. Cuomo decided to shut down the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, after reaching a deal with lawmakers last month to enact a modest package of reform measures, including new laws against bribery and corruption, as part of the state budget.

 

 

Gee, How convenient of Cuomo.

Thomas DiNapoli, NYS Comptroller, also found fault with measures undertaken by Cuomo which he believes compromise accountability and transparency to the taxpayers.

DiNapoli’s April 2014 Budget Report Finds Reason For Skepticism, in fact.

According to NY State of Politics:

There is reason to be skeptical that New York will run a multi-billion dollar surpluses in the coming fiscal years, according to a preliminary report on the 2014-15 state budget released on Monday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.

 

The report found the budget is relying on “uncertain revenues” that include $500 million in unspecified transfers as well as transferring nearly $265 million from public authorities.

At the same time, the spending plan — and those future surpluses Gov. Andrew Cuomo is projecting — hinge on vaguely savings programs over the coming years.

 

“A lack of specificity regarding potential savings actions makes it difficult to determine whether the proposed savings can be achieved,” the report found.

The ongoing economic recovery would have to increase its pace in order to keep up with tax revenues, but unemployment is expected to remain higher than previously post-recession recovery levels, the report found.

 

Cuomo in January projected a $2 billion surplus by 2016-17 — he spoke of achieving this surplus in the present tense — as well as surpluses in coming budget years, as long as the state sticks to a 2 percent cap on spending increases during that time.

 

The state’s $138 billion budget increased spending over last year by 1.9 percent.

The surpluses are a key part of the state being able to pay for a large part of a tax cut package included in this year’s final spending agreement.

 

The spending plan included $7.6 billion in non-recurring or “one-shot” revenue sources as well as temporary resources such as $2.7 billion in relief to pay for Superstorm Sandy recovery.

DiNapoli’s report also raises issues with transparency in the finalized budget agreement beyond the so-called “sweeps” of funds.

 

The report notes that distributing funds through a memorandum of understanding was a practice that was largely discontinued since the budget reform measures put in place in 2007.

 

However, the budget agreement includes such an “MOU” between Cuomo and the Legislature that would allocate $439.5 million in settlement money from JP Morgan that will be allocated by the governor’s director of budget, the speaker of the state Assembly and the Senate majority coalition.

In another example, DiNapoli points to $116 million in capital funds for SUNY and CUNY that will be spent in accordance with a plan approved by the DOB and the state Senate.

 

This method of budgeting makes it hard for taxpayers to know how their money is being spent, while precluding a full dialogue among stakeholders that ensures the public interest is identified and pursued,” the report found.

 

Clearly, the public has a right to be worried about accoutability, transparency and corruption under Cuomo’s watch, now dont we?


See NYS of Politics Article here.

Read DiNapoli’s Press Release here.

 

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