The state’s $211 million advertising campaign to promote economic development programs and attract businesses to the state has not produced any “tangible results” in terms of generating new jobs and business for the state, an audit from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found.

The long-awaited audit, released on Monday, critiqued the advertising campaign from Empire State Development Corp., which has had a near ubiquitous presence on cable television over the last several years.

Critics of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration had seized on the campaign — which aired both here in New York and in other states — as a back-door way of promoting the governor, though Cuomo himself by law cannot appear in the state-founded ads.

The advertising campaign has not shown any ability to boost job growth in the state or attract new businesses.

ESDC itself has insisted to the comptroller’s office that the program shouldn’t be measured against goals set for the various ecnoomic development programs, while the advertising was not intended to “directly produce positive economic benefits.’

Still, DiNapoli’s office found the efforts measure the effectiveness of the program are not strong enough given the cost of the campaign.

“When government spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to send a message that New York is a place to visit and open for business, it should have clear objectives and show the public actual results,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “ESDC’s attempts to measure the results of this advertising campaign were weak at best, leaving real questions about whether the results justify the cost.”

The impact of the economic development advertising was singled out for concern: ESDC had received more than 18,000 applications for state-backed support, but only 10 percent of those businesses that applied were actually eligible.

Overall, auditors pegged the amount of advertising money spent for each promised job to be created at $25,000.

Updated: ESD responds.

“It’s disappointing that the Comptroller’s Office, which spent close to a year on this audit, has chosen to ignore every metric put into place to measure the effectiveness and impact of the multiple advertising campaigns run by ESD. The facts, as confirmed by ongoing independent quantitative research, show our efforts have made great strides in improving perceptions of New York State, creating greater awareness of our economic development programs, increasing the perception that New York is a good or excellent place to do business by 122 percent among executives from out of state, as well as attracting more tourists to spend their vacations here. Despite these glaring omissions, the Comptroller’s primary finding was that ESD has effectively managed this contract. We agree.”

14s10.pdf by Nick Reisman