Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro unveiled his 2019 Albany Accountability Act during a Thursday morning press conference in Buffalo.

The proposal includes roughly twenty pages of reforms directed at a variety of issues including government transparency, campaign finance and economic development. Many of the policy ideas, Molinaro admits, are not new, but are reforms he has identified as ways to root out corruption in state government and return power to the people of the state of New York.

He said they are “perhaps the most sweeping and fundamental ethics reforms” in the state’s history. The candidate has already discussed some of them of the course of his campaign, including a call to limit statewide elected officials to two terms and members of the state Legislature to six terms, plans to convene a new Moreland Commission to investigate public corruption, and a ban on political contributions from individuals and entities pursuing government contracts.

“This triple A action plan is organized around five simple and clear goals: creating a government of, by and for the people, opening the doors of government and providing true transparency to the media and the public, taking big money out of politics, holding politicians accountable, providing for independent oversight, and rethinking and right-sizing New York State’s economic development programs,” Molinaro said.

Another proposal would give voters the power of initiative and referendum in New York which would allow them to petition to put specific legislation before the legislature or directly on the ballot. Molinaro also wants to “return power to the people” by impaneling a commission to revisit independent redistricting ahead of the 2020 census.

Regarding increasing transparency, the Republican proposes creating a Unified Economic Development Budget, a searchable “database of deals,” and empowering an independent auditor to review all state government contracts. he would like to expand the state’s Open Meetings and Freedom of Information laws and give the state Committee on Open Government, which right now serves in an advisory capacity, the power to enforce those laws.

Molinaro calls for a strengthening of the state code of ethics, the addition of sexual harassment as an ethics violation, and a new “truly independent” five member oversight committee which would assume the duties of the Joint Commission of Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Committee. Finally, regarding “rightsizing economic development,” he said he would end the practice of direct grant funding to private corporations.

“Those projects that are contracted for, we’re not going to disrupt that system, but no new direct grants, no new direct checks, no new direct payments to corporate interests, period. It’s corrupted,” Molinaro said.

The state Legislature would have to approve a majority of these plans and Molinaro said, if elected, he would like to see the package taken up as a single piece of legislation. However, he noted if legislators do not seem receptive to the idea, the governor has broad authority during the budget process to push forward legislation and he has no qualms with including the reforms in a budget bill.

“On Day One, everyone who serves with me will be asked, ‘Do you stand with the people of the state of New York or do you stand with those who believe that government is about the powerful and those who have influence?'” he said.

Molinaro said he’s not concerned if members of his own party are unhappy with some of the proposals.

 

Albany Accountability Act of 2019 by Ryan Whalen on Scribd