Subsidies See More Sunshine in NYC

March 19, 2014

In the spirit of Sunshine Week, Good Jobs New York is proud to announce a trio of transparency enhancements introduced at this month’s New York City Industrial Development Agency board meeting. Our ongoing advocacy efforts promoting transparency at the agency led to these improvements and we applaud the IDA for taking steps to be more open. The improvements, which are expected to be in place at the IDA by the summer, include:

• Adding an interactive map of active deals to the agency’s website;
• Moving from audio casting to webcasting of IDA Board meetings; and
• Creating of transcripts of testimony given at IDA public hearings.

These initiatives build on an earlier set of reforms put in place in 2010 which extended access to company-specific details for the life of a project’s agreement; provided data on the value of land sales negotiated by the Economic Development Corporation, and – most notably – required public posting of company-specific subsidy information in digital database files.

Additionally, in response to a suggestion from the former IDA Board appointee of then New York City Comptroller John Liu, the Directors began to receive a monthly “Enforcement Action Report” with details and status updates for any IDA project not in compliance with its project agreement. Although this and all materials provided to board members were not made available to the public, GJNY obtains these records through a regular Freedom of Information request and posts them on our website.

The new IDA policies are a promising start on a broader list of goals outlined in a detailed letter to NYC Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball from ten leading transparency and good government groups earlier this month. Good Jobs New York will continue working with these organizations to bring ever-increasing sunshine to the city’s economic development policies.