Corporate welfare is thriving in New York

Albany applauds corporate welfare. Albany Molecular Research (AMRI), the Maid of the Mist, and the Buffalo Bills are all cases of corporate welfare conducted at the taxpayers’ expense.

In a back-room deal approved by the WNY Regional Economic Council, AMRI received $50 million as part of Albany’s Buffalo Billion plan. The Investigative Post and the Albany Business Review report that AMRI lost $112 million in the past three years and it will create only a “fraction” of the 250 jobs promised. We are told by Albany that it is investing our money, not spending it. Are 50 jobs worth $1 million apiece?

According to the Niagara Falls Reporter, the Maid of the Mist contract to James Glynn is a sweetheart deal. Glynn received a no-bid contract from Albany while a bid by Hornblower Cruises to pay an estimated $100 million more was ignored. Why was a no-bid contract concerning public property granted when a better offer existed?

The Buffalo Bills’ lease requires taxpayers to pay $95 million to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium. Wilson will pay only $35 million for the renovation, although he nets $30 million to $40 million annually. Why are taxpayers being blackmailed to subsidize a successful enterprise such as the Bills? Will there be an open bid to renovate the stadium, or will the bid go to a well-connected developer?

Why are local elites and the state government allowed to pick the winners in the economy using taxpayer money? Why are there no referendums on how our money is spent? Why not make the cost of doing business less expensive by reducing state spending and taxes, and by curtailing the influence of the state bureaucracy over the economy? The public rejects Albany’s ties to special interests, but when it is put into practice, the applause is deafening.

William L. Marcy