Lalor Introducing Bill to Require Disclosure of State Contracts

Albany, NY - Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - Fishkill) announced today that he will be introducing legislation that would require New York State to promptly publish any contract the state enters into. Lalor is introducing the bill in response to the revelation that Governor Cuomo delayed announcing the state's latest agreement with IBM for seven months until he could use it at the most politically- opportune time.

"It's Sunshine Week, and that's the perfect time to give every New Yorker the opportunity to review and assess the state's contracts," said Lalor. "Governor Cuomo played political games with the announcement of his IBM deal. The deal was signed in June 2013. The deal for the tech center was signed in September 2013. The public should have had immediate access to those contracts. I believe the state shouldn't strike special tax or subsidy deals with individual companies; but if the governor insists on subsidies, we need transparency."

Lalor continued "Cuomo sat on the announcement for one reason; to wait for the most politically-opportune moment for maximum effect. It looks like Cuomo was dishonest with New Yorkers. He announced the deal late on a Sunday, right before IBM announced layoffs in other states. The governor wanted us to believe his deal spared New York from that round of layoffs. But the deal was actually struck seven months earlier. It was intentionally deceptive. On top of that, the written agreement reveals the jobs could include sub-contractors. That's not what Cuomo led us to believe with the announcement."

Lalor's public pressure on Cuomo's office led the administration to finally release the written agreements with IBM. The Cuomo administration had been requiring the press to FOIL for the agreement, until they finally put it online, postdated on an old press release. Lalor's bill would require New York State to publish its contracts online within one week of the state entering into the contract. The legislation would place the same requirement on the state's various independent authorities, economic development organizations, and public university foundations.

"The governor shouldn't require the press or legislators to go through a FOIL request to access something basic like a government contract," Lalor continued. "Taxpayers have a right to see these contracts. Government contracts never belong behind closed doors. Crony capitalism is almost always a bad deal for taxpayers. It's worse without transparency. Even someone who thinks special government subsidies work would agree that sunlight can only benefit the process. If it's really a good deal for the taxpayers, the taxpayers should at least be able to take a look at the details."