David Cay Johnston reports how a decision by the NY state's highest court on November 21, 2011 effectively allows corporations to pick taxpayers' pockets.
Here’s more bad news for taxpayers! Since 1846, the New York State constitution has had an absolute prohibition on gifts of money or even credit to corporations. The voters of this state re-upped in 1874, and again in 1938, and they turned away a 1967 effort to undo the ban. But New York state's highest court has just ruled it doesn’t matter. The court says the state can give all the money it wants to corporations, so long as it just washes them through one of those economic development agencies that state legislatures all across the country have been creating. Now two of the seven justices dissented from this. They treated it as an outrage and said that it was very clear what it was that the constitution says and that just because it’s been violated for years, doesn’t mean it can continue. But unfortunately the court also ruled that if you want to challenge such a case in the future, you will have to prove before taking any testimony, before looking at any documents, that a gift violates the state constitution and you will have to prove it to the standard of a criminal case, beyond reasonable doubt. Hold on to your wallets taxpayers, corporate America has figured out another way to pick your pocket!