“Show Me The Money”

Miller, Assembly Minority Conference call for transparency in economic development spending

Today, Assemblyman Brian Miller (R,I-New Hartford) joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua), members of the Assembly Minority Conference and government reform groups to call for greater transparency and accountability in government spending (A.5657-A). Miller wants reform specifically regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs, which have come under fire in the last year amid allegations of bid-rigging, bribery and pay-for-play schemes.

“The abuse of taxpayer dollars that the residents of this state have been forced to endure is unacceptable,” said Miller. “The governor’s top aide was convicted on bribery charges related to economic development schemes and there is still more to come with the trial of former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros just weeks away. We need a paper trail to ensure the abuse of millions of taxpayer dollars comes to a halt. If you’re going to spend it, we want to see it. Show us the money!”

To recap some of the economic development scandals: Joe Percoco, the governor’s former top aid, was found guilty earlier this year on bribery charges related to the “Buffalo Billion” economic development initiative; Alain Kaloyeros will face bid-rigging charges related to the SUNY Polytechnic scandal and recently, the SUNY Polytechnic Film Hub built at taxpayer expense – to the tune of $15 million – was sold for $1 to a local Syracuse development company.

Miller has been an outspoken advocate of comprehensive ethics reform since joining the New York State Assembly. In addition to his call for transparency in government operations and economic development spending, Miller has been a strong proponent of term limits, prohibiting the spending of campaign funds for personal use and other anti-corruption legislation.

“I am proud to say there are legislators on both sides of the aisle who support measures to make economic development more transparent,” Miller continued. “This is not a partisan issue. This is everyone’s issue. The state comptroller has even implored the Legislature to take action and the Senate obliged. The governor is trying to impose his will – via the Assembly – to bury these important measures and we cannot allow it. The Assembly must take action before session comes to a close next week.”

Miller was also the first state legislator to call for former Assemblywoman Pamela Harris to step down amid indictments for defrauding FEMA and the taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars, claiming that her home was unlivable, having been damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Months later, Harris did, in fact, step down from her elected office and plead guilty yesterday to defrauding FEMA and covering it up.