Assemblyman Walter Weighs In On Need for Oversight In Funding Economic Development Programs

Initiatives aimed at increasing transparency, accountability in state government in state government spending
June 7, 2017

***Editor’s Note***

Please see the following link for a stand-up interview with Assemblyman Walter regarding today’s press conference, and the need for additional oversight of state spending programs.

Today, several members of the Assembly Minority Conference joined Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua) at the state capitol in urging Gov. Cuomo and the two house majorities to address meaningful ethics reform measures in the final days of this year’s legislative session. Echoing a similar request from a press event nearly one year ago, the delegates called on the governor, Assembly Majority and Senate Minority to take up several measures aimed at increasing accountability, transparency and honesty in several areas of state government, including enacting term limits for leadership positions, establishing advisory committees to oversee the allocation of government funds, maintaining the separation of policy and budgetary initiatives and, most notably, increasing comptroller oversight of the state funding of economic development programs.

The conference, led by Leader Kolb, featured spoken remarks from Assemblymen Robert Oaks (R,C-Macedon) and Raymond Walter (R,C,I-Amherst), all of whom stated in no uncertain terms that New Yorkers deserve to know exactly how their money is being spent. Citing the recent indictments of Gov. Cuomo’s top aids and economic development partners, as well as evidence suggesting the governor’s programs to be ineffective and failing, the speakers united in a commitment to changing the way business is conducted in Albany, and ensuring one man was not the sole decision maker in the distribution of state funds.

“As we approach the conclusion of this year’s legislative session, I remain disappointed in the Assembly Majority and Gov. Cuomo’s unwillingness to address the troubling lack of oversight over taxpayer-funded economic development projects,” said Assemblyman Walter. “Given the corrupt and unethical manner in which these programs have been executed in recent years, the governor’s insistence that these reforms would harm minority and women-owned businesses appears to be a thinly veiled political attempt to maintain the status-quo. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, that means hundreds of millions of their hard-earned tax dollars will continue to be spent in the shadows, with little to no input from the state comptroller, and even less attention paid to mandated reporting requirements.

“I call on my legislative colleagues to amend this flawed process by taking up the Procurement Integrity Act (A.6355), as well as two bills I co-sponsored (A.5657A and A.7427) that would increase accountability and oversight over the funding and execution of taxpayer-funded programs,” Walter continued. “Residents of the Empire State deserve to know exactly how their money is being spent, and I will remain committed to supporting legislation promoting transparency and accountability in our state government throughout in the final weeks of session and beyond.”