Paul Jacob

New York State is deeply blue. That’s the color mapmakers use to show Democratic control. That’s also the state the state’s economy is in, depressed by those same Democrats’ policies.

So, to lighten the mood, Governor Andrew Cuomo is splurging $140 million tax dollars for TV ads that sing the praises of the state’s supposedly brand new pro-business attitude to folks way down here in Virginia (where I live) and all across the country.

One spot features actor Robert DeNiro acknowledging that “some say we lost our edge,” but then claiming, “Well, today there’s a new New York State, one that’s working to attract businesses and create jobs . . . nurture start-ups and small businesses . . . reduce tax burdens . . .”

“The new New York works for business,” the ad concludes. The old New York Times reports “the governor and lawmakers are” funding the campaign by “draining money from ostensibly independent public authorities for purposes running counter to their missions” — something “common” in state government.

A whopping $50 million came from the State Power Authority, which was established to produce electricity cheaper and lower energy bills in the state. Audaciously, folks at the Authority claimed, in public filings, that the resultant economic development spurred by the ads would serve their mission.

Millions more has been “raided,” according to former Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, from state authorities that “should be lowering electric rates, building dormitories and otherwise doing what they were created to do.”

Ironically, Empire State politicians are lawlessly taking money away from its mandated statutory purpose, so they can spend it to crow to out-of-state companies about how wonderfully governed New York State is.

Alas, out-of-state smirking is nowhere near as satisfying as it should be. You are also a contributor, dear non-New York reader: the ad campaign taps a fat $40 million in federal government disaster relief funds “to promote businesses and tourism in the areas struck by Hurricane Sandy.”

Of course, New York is hardly alone. Others states are also spending gobs of tax dollars to attract new business enterprises — for instance, Connecticut is spending $27 million, California $50 million and Michigan $25 million.

Gov. Cuomo told The Times, “By telling the stories of businesses that are already succeeding in our state, we can attract even more economic opportunity and jobs.” So what are these “successes”?

o Taxpayers handing Fage Yogurt $1.5 million in state incentives to build a factory in Johnstown.

o Taxpayers providing $3.4 million to help Smith Electric Vehicles build a factory.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.