Fishkill, NY: Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - Fishkill) today criticized Gov. Cuomo's acceptance of over $50,000 in campaign contributions from NBC Universal and its parent company, Comcast, while handing out $10 million in new tax breaks to NBC shows so far. Lalor is calling on Cuomo and NBC to return the tax credits to restore funding for the developmentally disabled.
"Governor Cuomo can't be a champion of campaign finance reform and then turn around and hand out tax credits to connected donors," said Lalor. "It's this kind of crony capitalism that has made Albany a pay-to-play cesspool. NBC and Comcast donate tens of thousands of dollars to the governor and then reap the benefit of $10 million in tax breaks for The Tonight Show and America's Got Talent. Meanwhile, the governor cuts $90 million in funding for the developmentally disabled."
Since October 2010, Governor Cuomo's campaign has received $19,700 in contributions from NBC Universal and $30,300 from NBC's parent company, Comcast. That $50,000 does not include any contributions from individual NBC and Comcast executives. This year's budget included a new $5 million per show tax credit, seemingly carved out specifically for NBC shows. America's Got Talent has announced that it will be using the credit and The Tonight Show is expected to follow suit. At the same time, the budget included $90 million in cuts to the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.
Lalor continued, "Buying influence pays off for NBC and Comcast, but regular taxpayers can't keep up in the governor's 'New' New York. The developmentally disabled aren't campaign donors so they get the short shrift. Struggling small businesses can't write campaign checks, so they are hit by a minimum wage hike and unending regulations. But for the big donors, campaign checks can open the doors to hundreds of millions in tax credits."
"The FBI recorded indicted city councilman Dan Halloran saying, 'That's politics, that's politics, its all about how much.' That's New York-style government, and we're seeing that nothing has changed under Governor Cuomo," Lalor added.
"Last week's arrests left taxpayers thinking that everything in Albany is up for sale. These special tax credits for a big corporate campaign donor are just another example. Governor Cuomo needs to do the right thing and restore the OPWDD funding. NBC and Comcast should decline the tax credits and use their influence to ask the governor to restore the funding. Crony capitalism has no place in good government. Return the tax dollars to those who need it the most," Lalor concluded.