Readers Write: Cuomo continues N.Y. tradition of wasting money

“Cuomo’s billion-dollar investment debacle” (On The Right by George Marlin — November 22) has been going on for decades, on a bipartisan basis by previous governors. 

It has grown significantly worse under Cuomo, wasting billions during his time in office.  Albany, New York City, Nassau County and many other cities and towns prospered and successfully grew prior to the explosive growth in the numbers of various city, county and state development corporations over past decades. 

In many instances, projects supported by these government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare.  Between direct government funding, low-interest below-market-rate loans, and long-term tax exemptions – the bill to taxpayers, in the end, is greater than the so-called public benefits. 

There is also a relationship between Pay for Play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, private property condemnation under eminent domain, building permits along with direct and hidden subsidies.

In some cases, town, county and state development corporations actually compete against each other attempting to outbid each other in offering potential investors the best deal. This translates to the highest subsidies at taxpayers’ expense.   

 Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from city, county or state regulatory and permitting agencies.  Too many staffers leave in the twilight of any mayoral, county executive or governor’s administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw. 

Some developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations.  They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear.  Other commitments for creation of permanent new high-paying jobs and tax revenues frequently do not meet expectations.

If these projects are worthwhile, why can’t major developers use their own funds or obtain loans from banks, like medium and small businesses?  

 Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own.  How sad that some don’t want to do it the old fashion way by sweat and hard work. 

They are looking for shortcuts in the form of huge subsidies at taxpayers’ expense and favors from elected officials.  Who pays for the cost of improved sewer, water, electrical, road, traffic signal and other infrastructure improvements?  There is also increased fire, police and sanitation services.  How much will taxpayers be on the hook to pick up the tab?

 Cuomo could create more jobs and economic growth by taking other actions.  Why not consider repeal of the Wicks law?  

The Wicks law requires separate contractors for general construction, electrical, plumbing and heating.  Coordination of work by these four prime contractors in many cases requires hiring a fifth Construction Management firm to ensure they all work together. 

Each of the four players can impact the others if they don’t meet critical interim milestones in any project. This is determined in a project’s construction critical path schedule.  The fifth independent Management firm has to ensure that all four other companies work closely together in a positive rather than adversarial way.

All of the above frequently can add to any overall project cost.  Construction contracts funded by Albany, Nassau County or the Town of North Hempstead along with other major cities, towns and counties frequently average from several million to several hundred million dollars and sometimes a billion or more.

Give former New York City Mayor Bloomberg credit as one of the few elected officials of his generation brave enough to call for the total repeal of the Wicks law.  

Unions have consistently used their powerful political influence to kill off any real modifications or outright repeal.  Abolishing the Wicks law could save taxpayers and government at all levels significant amounts of increasingly scarce funds which could be better spent elsewhere.      

Cuomo attempts to portray himself as the second coming of the late President Franklin Roosevelt and Master Builder Robert Moses. 

He is not an engineer, business person, transportation expert or daily commuter.  He has never built a business from scratch or created a significant number of new good-paying jobs on his own. 

Cuomo does excel at photo ops holding a shovel at ground-breaking ceremonies.  He does the same when walking along MTA subway or commuter train tracks without wearing either a safety vest or hardhat as required by Federal Rail Road Administration. 

I doubt he has is ever taken and passed the standard FRA safety training course like MTA employees or has used a Metro Card like commuters.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

TAGGED: Gov. Cuomo

About the author

The Island Now

Share this Article