New York’s Efforts to Ban Secret Deals Will Bring Transparency and Accountability
Washington, D.C. — Ban Secret Deals, a coalition of national and state-based policy and advocacy partners fighting to bring accountability and transparency to state and local economic development, today applauded New York state senators for passing S1196, legislation that prohibits the use of non-disclosure agreements in economic development deals.
“Large corporations in New York and across the country are using non-disclosure agreements to scam local communities and states out of billions in taxpayer dollars behind closed doors,” said Pat Garofalo, Director of State and Local Policy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “By banning these secret deals, New York’s S1196 will bring transparency and accountability to a public policy area desperately lacking both and ensure local communities have a say in local development. We hope this bill quickly passes the legislature and is signed into law, and that other states soon follow New York’s great example.”
“New York’s economic development history is full of stories where even a basic amount of transparency and accountability could have potentially avoided a costly disaster for the state’s taxpayers,” said John Mozena, president of the Center for Economic Accountability. “It’s great to see the New York State Senate take meaningful action to ban secret deals and start opening up economic development subsidies to public scrutiny.”
“Non-disclosure agreements are one way corporations control the narrative on jobs and taxes. They use that control to deceive and misinform,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. “It’s time for the public to know the truth and stop getting ripped off.”
“Large corporations love to play states and localities against one another. On the one hand, they will publicly announce a planned project to attract media attention and initiate a bidding war amongst the ‘competing’ states. At the same time, they will muzzle the states and associated localities with NDAs under the guise of trade secrets and other nonsense, when the primary goal is simply to extract as much as possible from the often-preselected jurisdictions before taxpayers have an opportunity to object,” said C.J. Girod, Founder and Managing Principal of Responsible Incentives. “Every state should follow in New York’s footsteps and endeavor to put an end to this exploitative practice.”
To learn more about the ways NDA-covered economic development deals harm local communities, read “None of Our Business? How Corporate Power Corrupts Local Economies and Democracies.” A database of previous secret deals can be found here, and you can learn more about the Ban Secret Deals coalition here.
The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.