Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Putting a halt to corporate welfare

Albany, N.Y. - Yesterday, Buffalo attorney and self-proclaimed "anti-politician" James Ostrowski filed suit in the Albany Supreme Court on behalf of 47 taxpayers to halt the state's practice of awarding over $1 billion in "economic development" grants to private corporations. The basis for the suit is an 1846 amendment to the state constitution banning the government from bestowing "gifts" to private entities.

According to Ostrowski, the 1846 amendment was passed when speculators selling politicians on the benefits of "internal improvements" left taxpayers holding the bag. Though a proposed 1967 amendment to overturn the 1846 amendment was defeated by a 3-to-1 margin, "state officials have acted as though the 1967 amendment had become law."

A copy of "The Mother of All Lawsuits," may be found on Ostrowski's blog.

Also, Ostrowski announced his intentions to file similar suits in all 50 states. Though the late-Larry Harless attempted with limited success to challenge the $200 million in economic development grants then-Gov. Bob Wise doled out in 2002, given that two new justices will be elected to the Supreme Court in November the timing may be right for a second, more principled legal challenge.

Anyone wanting to assist Mr. Ostrowski in this endeavor may contact him via telephone at (716) 435-8918 or e-mail at jameso@apollo3.com.

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