Response from Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie to Largest Bid-Rigging Scandal in State History: NOTHING

Response from Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie to Largest Bid-Rigging Scandal in State History: NOTHING Elected leaders fail to pass common sense reforms to curb sky-high corruption risks revealed in $800m state contracting scandal  

(June 22, 2017, Albany) A coalition of prominent government watchdog groups say Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie have completely failed to address the huge problems revealed by last year’s alleged rigging of $800m in state economic development contracts and that … (read more)

Lack of Reforms at NY Capitol Called ‘Pathetic’

June 22, 2017. An article, featured in Lohud ,discussed Governor Cuomo’s decision not to enact reforms for better transparency when allocating money for economic development programs. Groups called for changes such as a “Database of Deals” and the restoration of power to the state comptroller to review state contracts. The reforms were requested in response bid-rigging scandals.

Legislative leaders and Cuomo failed to find a compromise on how to better review state contracts and job-creation programs amid the arrests last … (read more)

OUR VIEW: Celebrate World Refugee Day Saturday at City Hall

June 16, 2017. An editorial featured in the Observer-Dispatch cited FPI’s and the Center for American Progress’s co-released report, “Refugee Integration in the United States.” The op-ed is not only an invitation to celebrate World Refugee Day with those in Utica, but it also discusses how Utica is a city that refugees have helped rebuild by contributing to the local economy and tax rolls and reversing population decline.

There is little question that refugees are making significant contributions to our … (read more)

Clean Contracting Bill Gaining Support

June 14, 2017. Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, joined Alex Camarda, Senior Policy Consultant at Reinvent Albany, and Jennifer Wilson from the League of Women Voters, on Capital Tonight to discuss the “clean contracting” bill, which would require transparency of economic development projects. Ron argues that now is a good opportunity for the legislature to earn the community’s trust and address the issue before the trial for the bid-rigging scandal as the legislative session ends.

Here … (read more)

Reform Groups Beg: Bolster NY’s Contracting Laws

June 14, 2017. FPI and other organizations gathered in the Capitol to ask lawmakers to pass reforms that would expand New York State’s contracting guidelines in order to oversee economic development projects and to prevent other bribery and bid-rigging scandals. Reforms that these organizations are pushing for include a “database of deals”, which track public money given to private corporations.

Government-reform organizations including Reinvent Albany, the New York Public Interest Research Group and the League of Women Voters gathered in … (read more)

Legislature Must Act Now: Clean Contracting Reforms

For immediate release: June 14, 2017

Legislature Must Act Now Groups say Flanagan, Heastie and Cuomo must pass meaningful Clean Contracting reforms in response to $800m state bid-rigging scandal

Albany, New York – Prominent budget and transparency watchdog groups today called on the legislative leaders to act on their public statements on clean contracting, and pass meaningful legislation in response to the largest bid-rigging scandal in state history.

Senate President John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are both on … (read more)

Language Diversity and English-Speaking Ability in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse

June 12, 2017. Many institutions in upstate New York cities and metro areas are wrestling with translation services, language access, and other ways to help integrate local residents who didn’t grow up speaking English. And, while the immigrant share of the population is not as big as in cities like New York or Los Angeles, the diversity of languages spoken can make for its own challenges.

An analysis of the 2015 American Community Survey 5-year data for Buffalo, Rochester and … (read more)

Trump Budget Would Shift Huge SNAP Costs to New York and Put New Yorkers at Risk of Going Hungry

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2017                                                    

Media Contact: Ron Deutsch (FPI) 518-469-6769

Sherry Tomasky (Hunger Solutions) 518-414-2570


Trump Budget Would Shift Huge SNAP Costs to New York and Put New Yorkers at Risk of Going Hungry


Albany, NEW YORK –  President Trump’s budget proposal would shift a significant share of the cost of the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program’s (SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps) benefits to states and, for the first time, allow states to cut SNAP … (read more)

Essay: NY Should Pass Driver’s License Bill For Undocumented Immigrants

June 9, 2017. In this op-ed Jennifer Hirsch argues that issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants can help with economic development and provide additional revenue to help with economic struggles, such as flooding and urban blight. Hirsch goes on to argue how immigrants are not able to contribute to the local economy if they do not have transportation to local shops.

You might not think of access to driver’s licenses for our state’s estimated 775,000 undocumented immigrants as economic development. … (read more)

Groups Seek Action in Albany to Counteract Trump Policies

June 5, 2017. FPI, along with other organizations, are urging the New York legislature to make changes that will counteract some of the harm from Trump’s policies. These include expansion of the Millionaires’ Tax, the right to clean water and air, expansion of voting rights and help for the homeless, as well as protection for immigrants and prevention of bid-rigging and bribery.

Ron Deutsch, who is with the union-backed think tank Fiscal Policy Institute, said Cuomo and lawmakers should act … (read more)