Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Tom DiNapoli

Tom DiNapoli

  • Democratic Establishment Embraces Cuomo as Pragmatic Progressive

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    James, Cuomo, Hochul, DiNapoli (photo: @andrewcuomo)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo emerged triumphant and emboldened from the State Democratic Party’s nominating convention on Long Island, with the party’s designation in hand and embraced by top national Democrats and elected party representatives from across the state. The governor basked in the support of centrist establishment figures like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden, while they and much of the rest of the convention sought to frame Cuomo as a

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  • Three Themes to Watch at State Democratic Convention

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    New York Democrats at the 2016 DNC (photo: New York Democratic Party)


    This year’s statewide election campaigns are in full swing, with the Democrats and Republicans hosting their nominating conventions this week. While Republicans are set to back a unified slate of candidates to avoid contested primaries, the Democratic Party finds itself in a degree of turmoil with multiple incumbents facing primary challenges from the left and a progressive base increasingly disillusioned with the state party machinery.

    As the September primary and

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  • Party Nominations for Statewide Elections Come Into Focus

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    Cynthia Nixon at the WFP convention (photo: Make The Road Action)


    It’s political party convention season as this state and federal election year heats up in New York, with federal primaries on June 26, state primaries September 13, and the general election November 6.

    Over the weekend, the Working Families Party and Green Party held their nominating conventions on Saturday and the Reform Party held its on Sunday. This week the Democratic and Republican state parties will hold their conventions, nominating candidates for the

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  • Cuomo and Legislature Reach Agreement on $168 Billion State Budget

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    Gov. Cuomo and top aides announce a budget deal (photo: Mike Groll/The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo and his top aides held a press conference late Friday night to announce a deal with the Legislature on a new $168.3 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins April 1. The announcement came several hours before the final budget bills were voted through both the Senate and Assembly, despite reservations from some lawmakers and another flawed process wherein legislators did not know the full details of what they were voting on and the

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  • What's The [Data] Point? 17%, with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

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    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 35 -- 17%, with Tom DiNapoli [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

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  • Four Years Later, 2014 State Campaign Finance Pilot All But Forgotten

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    Gov. Cuomo unveils an ethics agenda (photo: The Governor's Office)


    With the four statewide positions up for election again this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ill-fated 2014 public campaign financing experiment, in which candidates for state comptroller were eligible to test-run a pilot program, appears all but forgotten.

    New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, like Cuomo a Democrat running for another four-year term, has long been a proponent of a comprehensive program to match certain private campaign donations with public dollars, as a way

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  • With Phase One Going on Trial, Cuomo’s Buffalo Investment Moves Ahead with Broken Reform Promises

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office)


    As federal corruption trials loom for several associates of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the administration is forging ahead with Buffalo Billion II, the second phase in an ambitious plan to revitalize Buffalo’s beleaguered economy and help transform Upstate New York into a hub of technology innovation and jobs. The first phase saw the massive alleged bid-rigging and kickback scandal that rocked state politics when outlined in September 2016 by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office and will loom over

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  • Vance Fallout Echoes Other Controversies that Led to Reforms

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    Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (@NYSComptroller)


    As the office and campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance reexamine internal policies regarding the acceptance of campaign contributions, they may want to reference the guidebook of the office of the State Comptroller or Attorney General, both of which have implemented their own donor-vetting systems and guidelines in the wake of controversies involving fundraising practices. These checks far exceed what is required by ...

  • Even Without Federal Cuts, Signs of Trouble for State Finances

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    State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, right (photo: @NYSComptroller)


    State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is calmly ringing alarm bells about the New York economy and budget outlook. DiNapoli, the state’s chief fiscal officer, recently announced that overall tax collections for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2018 -- April through July -- fell by $1.2 billion from the same period last year, a decrease of 6.1% in revenue.

    Not only did tax revenues decrease by $1.2 billion from the prior year, but they were also $1.7 billion below a projection made by the Comptroller’s

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  • Comptroller vs. Governor: An Old Story in New York

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    Governor Cuomo (left) and Comptroller DiNapoli (center) (photo: Governor's Office/Flickr)


    State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Governor Andrew Cuomo have been airing public disagreement in the news media over the past several months. It is the latest chapter in a long story here in New York -- the Governor and the Comptroller sometimes agreeing but often challenging each other.

    Calling out Cuomo's fiscal policies
    DiNapoli's ...

  • What's The [DATA] Point? $780 Million, with Comptroller DiNapoli

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    What's The Data Point? Episode 3 -- $780 million, with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. [You can download What's The Data Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    For the third episode of What's The [Data] Point? we were joined by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the state's chief fiscal watchdog. With hosts Ben Max and Maria Doulis, DiNapoli discusses his thus far unsuccessful efforts to reform the state's contracting processes in the wake of the $780 million bid-rigging scandal that broke last year with federal

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  • With Session Ending and Trial Looming, No Legislative Response to Bid-rigging Scandal

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    Flanagan, Cuomo, Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    With just three scheduled days left in the legislative session and the corruption trial of several close associates of Governor Andrew Cuomo for their roles in a bid-rigging scandal scheduled to commence in October, the Legislature has yet to pass any meaningful legislation to prevent such abuses of the procurement process.

    State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has introduced a comprehensive bill to address the issue, which is the basis for a Senate bill sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco, a

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  • Reviews Are In: What Watchdogs Say About The New State Budget

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    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    A new state budget was passed in April in typical Albany fashion: with almost no time for public scrutiny of the bills or proper review by the legislators who quickly voted them through. Since the $153.1 billion budget was passed, watchdogs both in and out of government have released analyses, helping to better inform citizens and increase accountability.

    The budget was adopted a

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  • Whose Job Is It To Investigate The Legislature’s Lulu System?

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    IDC Leader Jeff Klein (via nysenate.gov)


    Reports that state senators have been receiving stipends for committee chair positions that they do not actually hold has drawn scrutiny to the Legislature’s stipend system and raised questions about the legality of the ways in which Senate leadership has arranged such payouts, often called lulus. Those questions have led to others, specifically whose job it is to investigate the potential wrongdoing involved and whether any legal or ethics enforcement entities will take action.

    Four Republican senators and three members of the

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  • Government Watchdogs Push 'Clean Contracting' Reform in Albany

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    Alain Kaloyeros in 2016 (photo: The Governor's Office)


    A coalition of budget and transparency watchdog groups are calling on the Legislature to pass, and for Governor Cuomo to sign, comprehensive “clean contracting” legislation in response to the bid-rigging scandal that rocked the state Capitol last year and continues to reverberate.

    Specifically, at a Wednesday press conference the groups called for restoration of reviewing powers to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for all state contracts exceeding $250,000, an end to non-academic

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  • Murky Definitions for Government Entities Undermine Transparency

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    Gov. Cuomo in Buffalo (photo: The Governor's Office)


    When Rockland County Democratic Party Chair Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky fills out her annual state disclosure forms, she consults her husband for question six, which requires the listing of contracts held with a state or local agency held by the filer, filer’s spouse, or unemancipated child.

    Evan Stavisky, a partner in the prominent Albany lobbying firm The Parkside Group, after checking with the firm’s lawyer, has told his wife that his company does not represent any government

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  • Public Health Week: Get the Lead Out

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    (Photo by Dineshraj Goomany)


    After nearly three years of grappling with contaminated drinking water, the citizens of Flint, Michigan finally obtained some relief as a federal court approved a settlement mandating replacement of lead pipes. 

    As we mark Public Health Week in New York, we must confront the sobering need to “get the lead out” here as well.

    Lead is a potent neurotoxin. It is particularly damaging to children, who absorb as much as 90 percent more lead into their bodies than adults.

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  • 'External Risks Threaten NYC Budget,’ State Comptroller Says

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    State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (photo: @NYSComptroller)


    As City Council hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget plan began Thursday morning at City Hall, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a new report on the city’s finances. “External risks threaten NYC budget,” the report blares, raising additional red flags to those already in the air courtesy of de Blasio’s own budget office, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, and others.

    DiNapoli’s report, “Review of the Financial Plan of the City of New York,” is part of his job

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  • DiNapoli, Seeking Restored Power, Points Finger at Only the System

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    Comptroller DiNapoli (photo: @NYSComptroller)


    Comptroller Tom Dinapoli is not interested in pointing fingers at any of his fellow elected officials when it comes to the massive scheme alleged to have corrupted major state economic development programs under the noses of Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators.

    In the wake of corruption charges brought against nine individuals by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, DiNapoli was given multiple opportunities Friday during a radio interview, but he declined to criticize either Cuomo or the

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  • Cuomo Seeks to Undermine Comptroller’s Check on His Power

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    Cuomo, left, and DiNapoli, middle, in 2012 (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent assertion that Comptroller Tom DiNapoli should “educate himself” and that the comptroller’s audits on state economic development projects are “dead wrong” and “opinion” drew a lot of attention. Many Albany observers took it as a sign of Cuomo’s growing sensitivity to criticism about his signature projects.

    Those projects, like the Buffalo Billion, are the subject of a

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  • Reevaluating New York Economic Development Programs

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    Gov. Cuomo at a jobs announcement (photo: Philip Kamrass, Governor's Office)


    Over the last few weeks, several reports and legislative hearings have once again cast an unflattering light on New York’s economic development policies. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. In my 14 years serving in the State Senate, I’ve seen the names of the programs change, but the results remain the same – huge giveaways to a select group of companies that don’t live up to their job creation promises.

    On the Friday before the

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  • Two Months On, Buffalo Billion Investigator’s Contract Remains a Mystery

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: The Governor's Office)


    It has been two months since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Bart Schwartz would conduct an “independent review” of the state’s signature Buffalo Billion economic development program and yet Schwartz’s contract with the state remains either unfinished or under wraps. On April 29, following the news that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had subpoenaed some of Cuomo’s closest allies in conjunction with an investigation into bid-rigging and other possible improprieties, Cuomo and Schwartz released a joint

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  • For Review, Cuomo Chooses Outside Agent Over Existing State Investigators

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    Scheiderman, left, & Cuomo, center (photo via The Governor's Office on Flickr)


    More than a month after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor, would head an “independent investigation” into the Buffalo Billion economic development program, it remains unclear whether Schwartz has begun his

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  • Role of Cuomo’s ‘Independent Investigator’ Remains Unclear

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    In trying to stifle the blaze that has become U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation into the Buffalo Billion economic development program, Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly invoked the name of Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor the administration has retained (or is in the process of retaining) to carry out an “independent” review of the project.

    In acknowledging that people close to him were being investigated in relation to the Buffalo Billion, Cuomo announced Schwartz’s hire on

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  • Buffalo Billion Probe: Bad Apples or Broken System?

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    Gov. Cuomo in Buffalo (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office issues a storm of subpoenas to the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his close associates in relation to the state’s Buffalo Billion economic development program, the governor and his aides have delivered a consistent message: the investigation targets the dealings of a few bad apples, the governor wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing and he wants to get to the bottom of the situation as quickly as possible.

    “I’ve said to all my people, and I’ve said to

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