Comptroller Audits Provide Glimpse Into Dysfunction, Waste Of Taxpayer Dollars

Yet another audit from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office has found a state agency wasting or mismanaging money, evidence of a disturbing trend that has seemingly consumed the summer. This time, it’s paying out Medicaid to the deceased. Not long ago, it was handing out tax breaks with no real standards. The list goes on and on.
 
New Yorkers, struggling mightily to overcome an atrocious business climate and sky-high taxes, can ill afford to watch their hard-earned money thrown out the window due to irresponsibility and negligence. Gov. Cuomo’s programs and agencies must be held to a much higher standard, especially considering how difficult it is for folks to get ahead in a state littered with mandates, regulations and taxes.
 
Shockingly, the governor continues to flaunt his administration’s transparency and accountability as top flight, when the evidence demonstrates the exact opposite. This is a tired and insulting tactic and New Yorkers deserve better. The comptroller’s recent audits show there are serious weaknesses in the way New York State is being run, and these issues must be addressed immediately.
 
AUDITS SHOW CRACKS IN THE FOUNDATION
 
Recently, the comptroller’s office released a report showing the state’s Medicaid system paid out $2.3 million for deceased patients and made a total of $12.1 million in erroneous payments between April 1 and September 30 of last year. Alone, this is troubling. Combined with the recent report that the Empire State Development Corporation’s Excelsior Program neglected to verify that the companies they were giving tax breaks to were actually meeting their job-creation obligations, an audit showing the state sat on more than $1 million collected from driver donations and a report that the ReCharge NY program overstated job creation estimates by 30,000, an unacceptable pattern has emerged.
 
An occasional arithmetic error is bound to happen, but a continued and unabated lack of regard for basic transparency is an embarrassment and a disservice to our state’s residents. In order for New York to realize its potential, a concerted effort to improve not only the policies in the state, but their implementation, is necessary. That won’t happen without Gov. Cuomo’s true commitment to lead by example. However, his track record has shown that he routinely ignores inconvenient facts and statistics instead of facing them squarely. The programs administered by state agencies are invaluable when applied properly, but they must be managed earnestly and competently. Otherwise, all New Yorkers face a rocky foundation. 
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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