The Public Accountability Initiative, a group made up of liberal organizations, released a critical report today on the Committee to Save New York, the business-backed group that has been aiding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s message of fiscal austerity in New York.
The group includes Community Voices Heard in the Hudson Valley and Voices of Community Activists and Leaders in Westchester County and Albany.
The group is pushing back against the Committee To Save New York’s pledge to raise more than $10 million to run ads in favor of Cuomo’s agenda.
Updated: The Public Accountability Initiative said it is a watchdog organization “focused on corporate and government accountability research.” The report, the group said, was released in collaboration with the New Deal for New York campaign, which is a statewide network of community organizations.
Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for the Committee to Save New York, ripped the group, calling it a left-wing group that based its findings on no knowledge of who is involved with the Committee to Save New York. He called the report “totally bogus.”
“They could have taken a Manhattan phone directory and pulled a name out of it. They have no idea who’s given us any support or money,” Cunningham said.
Among the findings:
• 13 financial firms linked to the Committee to Save New York received $149 billion in federal bailout funds (TARP) during the 2008 financial crisis, or roughly enough to fund New York State?s entire public school system for three years.
• Businesses linked to the Committee have been approved for roughly $2 billion in state and local subsidies in the form of tax breaks, infrastructure spending, and other outlays.
• Individuals associated with the Committee will save millions in personal income taxes if the state?s tax on high-income earners is not extended.
• Businesses associated with the Committee control at least 1,705 offshore subsidiaries incorporated in tax havens. The Cayman
• The honorary chair of the Committee, Felix Rohatyn, is employed at Lazard, the first major Wall Street bank to incorporate in an offshore tax haven (Bermuda).
• Several businesses associated with the Committee either specialize in facilitating tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and corporations or have been fined by the Department of Justice for doing so, including Deutsche Bank and UBS.
Here’s the full report.