Assemblyman Bob Oaks today joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, Assemblyman Raymond Walter, colleagues from the Assembly Minority Conference and good government advocates at a press conference in Albany calling for the state Assembly to vote on legislation that would protect billions of tax dollars by creating transparency within the state’s economic development funding programs.
Overseeing the state budget process for his conference as the ranking minority member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, Oaks has been a longtime advocate of such reform and is the lead sponsor of landmark economic development reform legislation.
Legislation similar to Oaks’ bill has been introduced by Assembly Majority members, including Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes’ procurement oversight bill and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger’s “Database of Deals” bill. However, despite numerous public corruption trials and guilty verdicts regarding the state’s premier economic development programs and passage of these bills in the state Senate earlier this session, no action has been taken on these bills in the Assembly.
Oaks said, “New York state’s lump-sum spending and economic development allocations are in desperate need of stricter oversight. This legislation begins the process of bringing integrity to the state’s procurement and spending practices. We’ve had too many scandals, too many trials, but too few checks and balances. New Yorkers should no longer have to stand by and watch their hard-earned money get wasted on inadequately managed state-funded projects. For some reason the Assembly Majority is blocking this important reform, despite bipartisan support. As we face the end of session, economic development reform must be our top priority.”