Tomorrow morning, I and 45 of my fellow co-plaintiffs will sue New York State, Governor Paterson and a rogues’ gallery of co-defendants to stop the state from ladling out taxpayer money to wealthy corporations. Our attorney, the great James Ostrowski, Esq., will ask a state judge in Albany to order an immediate end to more than $1 billion in illegal state subsidies to private interests.
Our lawsuit is based on an amendment to the New York State Constitution, dating back to the mid-1800’s, prohibiting gifts to private firms. Article VII, § 8, paragraph 1 states:
“The money of the state shall not be given or loaned to or in aid of any private corporation or association, or private undertaking; nor shall the credit of the state be given or loaned to or in aid of any individual, or public or private corporation or association, or private undertaking, but the foregoing provisions shall not apply to any fund or property now held or which may hereafter be held by the state for educational, mental health or mental retardation purposes.”
I don’t even want to know why the state needs to spend money for both mental health and mental retardation purposes. The point is, nowhere in the state constitution does it say it’s okay give away money to private corporations for “economic development,” which our elected officials and their lackeys do all the time. The recipients of cash gifts from the taxpayers in the current state budget include IBM, Advanced Micro Devices, Bass Pro Outdoor World, and Stella D’Oro (Stellaaaaaaa!), just to name a few
With the state experiencing a major budget crisis and our governor and legislator scratching their heads over how to make ends meet, it seems a good start would be to obey our constitution.
Read our legal complaint here.