Saturday, September 20, 2008

Boss Paterson's Hackocracy Strikes Again

"Empire State Development today announced that 25 Upstate New York grants totaling $67 million received formal approval at the Board of Directors Meeting held in New York City on September 18."

That was the first paragraph from a news release the Empire State Development Corporation issued two days ago. It was the same day The Daily News ran my piece on Governor David Paterson's ESDC funneling millions of tax dollars to McDonald's, Fordham University and multi-billion dollar corporations.

$67 million went down the drain on Thursday, and the largess included:

* $200,000 for Alpla, Inc., an Austrian plastics manufacturer with 10,000 employees and 119 manufacturing plants in 34 countries;

* $100,000 for Luvata Buffalo, a Swedish metal fabrication company with 8,500 employees in 18 countries;

* $500,000 for Erie County tool manufacturer Dynabrade; and

* $500,000 for Anaren, a self-described "world leader" in wireless infrastructure based in Onondaga County.

No explanation whatsoever was given by ESDC for why these four businesses received tax dollars. Not one quote appeared in the release. ESDC simply announced the company, and the cash is now in their bank accounts.

ESDC also approved:

* $50,000 for the Erie County Industrial Development Agency;

* $26,000 for Current Applications of Jefferson County;

* $34,200 for Exelco Developments Inc. of Chautauqua County;

* $50,000 for Graham Corporation of Genesee County;

* $40,000 for J.R. Clancy of Onondaga County;

* $40,000 for Nixon Gear Inc. of Onondaga County; and

* $25,600 for Qualicoat Inc. of Monroe County.

No explanation was provided. Again.

This is payola. It's Tammany Hall-style vote-buying and legalized bribery.

Nearly every company that gets its claws in New York's taxpayers describes itself publicly with superlatives such as "leading" or "global" or "innovative" or "worldwide." O.k. If that's the case, why do they need even one penny from New Yorkers?

Our accidental Governor has an opportunity to prove he's a real Governor by abolishing the ESDC, and it's repellent corporate welfare culture. New Yorkers would be spared from funding its bloated $1 billion budget, at the very least.

Anyone who has worked at the highest level of New York politics knows why ESDC exists. It's a patronage mill; a dumping ground for relatives and friends of the well-connected. These people have no training, no experience and no clue how a free market economy functions. All they understand are political favors, and hustling businesses to stay in New York when they would otherwise leave because of our punishing tax burden and excessive regulations.

Our state Legislature should schedule multiple hearings on Boss Paterson's ESDC operations. Summon their bureaucrats to the Legislative Office Building in Albany, and grill them on how they reach their decisions.

Why are certain businesses lavished with taxpayer goodies, and others blown off? Because right now, we have no idea. The public record is barren.

But I do have a good idea why.