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Commission seeks overhaul of Power Authority programs

The Citizens Budget Commission on Tuesday called for the New York State Power Authority’s economic development programs to be phased out and existing contracts be allowed to expire.

The nine existing programs do not support the state’s energy goals because they encourage energy consumption instead of conservation, a CBC report states.

Also, the programs are not connected to economic development goals, and NYPA disclosures of the nature and cost of the programs is insufficient, the organization said in a statement.

“The Power Authority’s economic development programs are simply not good enough,” CBC president Carol Kellerman said. “They should be brought to an appropriate close and replaced by programs that better serve the needs of the New York economy.”

Little public data is available to gauge the value of benefits awarded to participating firms, CBC officials said. Applying a set of assumptions to construct a cost model, the organization has determined the cost of the programs to range from $479 million to $640 million each year, it said.

The full report is available at www.cbcny.org.

The report is the second in a series of research studies by the CBC analyzing the state’s economic development programs. A December 2008 report concluded that the state’s Empire Zone program should be eliminated.

The non-partisan New York City-based non-profit organization released its report one day before six committees of the state Legislature prepare for the first of three hearings to examine the effectiveness and sustainability of New York’s low-cost power programs.

The first hearing is Wednesday in Niagara Falls, the second is in Syracuse on Oct. 15 and the third is in Albany on Nov. 18.
 

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.

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