1 – Eliminate Waste

A review of the New York State budget shows a vast array of unnecessary, redundant and wasteful programs. A prime example is corporate welfare, cloaked in the politically pleasant term “economic development,” often abused with eminent domain.

State agencies to be eliminated:

Economic Development

Warren proposes to end spending on “economic development.” Government efforts to promote business have a poor history and rarely produce benefits to make up for their costs. Real economic development would be best improved by eliminating this spending and lowering taxes. This includes ending the Environmental Facilities Corporation, New York State Stem Cell and Innovation Fund Corporation, and spending on the World Trade Center redevelopment.

Thruway Authority

The bonds were paid off in the 1990s. It is long past time to close down the Thruway Authority and get rid of the tolls. Its functions would be handled by DoT. The Thruway is a small portion of the total state highways, and its maintenance can be easily absorbed by DoT. Removing the tolls would have environmental and safety benefits as well.

Division of Human Rights

DHR serves a nearly identical function to the federal EEOC. As such it is redundant and can be eliminated.

Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence

Per its website, OPDV’s main functions are: (1) Advise the Governor; (2) Provide training; and (3) Serve as a Resource. These functions are all unnecessary. Actual work on prevention of domestic violence occurs in the field at the county and local level.

Commission of Correction

SCOC’s website says it all: “The Commission of Correction is a three member deliberative body, which meets monthly to discuss variances, maximum facility capacities, proposed changes in regulations, mortality investigations, and other matters that may arise.” It’s amazing that this costs $3 million in taxpayer money.

Crime Victims Board

CVB has a $77M budget, out of which $27M gets distributed to crime victims. This is horrendously inefficient. Victim compensation would be handled better at the local level. The average compensation is approximately $2700. While the purpose is noble, CVB does not deliver effectively.

Office of Homeland Security

The OHS mission is to “direct and coordinate.” In other words, it doesn’t actually do anything. Warren would designate the State Police as the lead agency for dealing with terrorism and other hazards.

Judicial Commissions

Two of the three commissions, Nomination and Screening, are unnecessary and should be eliminated. The Commission on Judicial Conduct should be merged into another state entity – most likely within OCA.

Division of Lottery and the Racing & Wagering Board

The state should not be in the gambling business.

Commission on Public Integrity

“Our mission is to insure compliance with the ethical standards that public officials and lobbyists must observe in order to ensure public trust and confidence in government.“ In light of the many recent incidents, such as Hevesi, Spitzer, Monserrate, Espada and Bruno, it is obvious that this agency is not accomplishing its mission.

Office for Technology

“CIO/OFT … provides statewide technology direction and centralized technology policies and services to other New York State government entities.” Parochial state agencies do not follow OFT’s direction and the services that it provides are readily available in the private sector. OFT is unnecessary. Of the 774 employees, 70 make over $100K.

Update on OFT: For 2009 the employee count mysteriously dropped to 692. 192 of them, or more than a quarter, make over $80K. Half the employees make over $65K. Total payroll is $45 Million.

NYSERDA

This is a late addition to the list. For more, see the blog post on NYSERDA.