Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro would advocate for term limits, closing a controversial campaign finance loophole and create a database of economic development incentives if he is elected governor.
Molinaro detailed the proposals — and many others — in a 23-page document released Thursday. The reform plan, named the Albany Accountability Act, is a response to the ongoing corruption plaguing state government and concerns that donors to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign are better positioned to receive economic subsidies.
One of his more notable proposals would limit statewide elected officials — governor, attorney general and comptroller — to two four-year terms. State legislators would be permitted to serve no more than six two-year terms, according to Molinaro's plan.
Molinaro is serious about term limits. If elected governor, he promised to make it a prerequisite for signing any budget legislation. And even if his term limit push is unsuccessful, he pledged to serve no more than two terms as governor.
"I would prefer to work with the members of the legislature to pass a reform as momentous as term limits, but if necessary, I will judiciously exercise my authority as governor and use the power of the bully pulpit to make my case statewide to ensure that term limits become a reality in New York state," he wrote.
He also called for the creation of a "database of deals," which would be maintained by the Urban Development Corporation. The searchable database would contain information about state economic development benefits doled out to companies and organizations.
The database would include the name and location of the participating entity, the length of the benefits, the type of incentives provided and the number of employees at the company.
Molinaro wants an independent auditor to review all state government contracts and supports strengthening the Committee on Open Government by allowing it to enforce the state's Freedom of Information and Open Meetings laws. New York economic development agencies would be subject to FOIL and the Open Meetings Law, according to the plan.
Other ideas supported by Molinaro include providing more transparency of how appropriations described as a "slush fund" for legislators are distributed. He would require the state Legislature to pass a resolution detailing the recipients of the funds and the reason for the request. Lawmakers would be mandated to confirm that the funds are for a lawful purpose and there isn't a conflict of interest.
Molinaro also plans to ask the state Legislature to pass a bill requiring the governor's office to post a schedule of his official meetings online every day. He would release his travel and visitor records, and would direct his press office to hold biweekly briefings with reporters.
He would alter the state Code of Ethics to restrict the use of state aircraft for official duties, not travel to a private residence. And he would ensure the documents related to the use of executive state aircraft, including trip itineraries and names of passengers, are available through a FOIL request.
"These changes are representative of my philosophy of governing — I want to embrace the press and the public, not keep them at arm's length," Molinaro wrote.
Other notable proposals outlined by Molinaro include:
• Convening a Moreland commission to investigate public corruption. Cuomo did this in 2013, but it was disbanded in 2014 after he reached an agreement with the state Legislature on some ethics reform measures.
• Establishing a five-member independent oversight committee to replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission.
"It is necessary to start from scratch and create a new entity," he said.
• Making sexual harassment a state ethics violation in the state Code of Ethics.
• Banning political contributions from individuals and entities pursuing government contracts
• Closing the so-called "LLC loophole," which allows for the creation of multiple entities for the purposes of donating to political candidates and campaigns.
Molinaro will face either Cuomo or Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon in the general election. Cuomo and Nixon are vying for their party's nomination in the Democratic primary, which will be held Sept. 13.
Nixon released her ethics plan last month. Like Molinaro, she called for a Moreland commission to investigate corruption and the creation of an independent ethics panel. She also supports closing the LLC loophole, but would go further than Molinaro in enacting other campaign finance reforms. She wants to establish a statewide public financing system for elections.
In a statement, Molinaro acknowledged some of the ideas he supports aren't original. For example, he supports the creation of a unified economic development budget. State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, has sponsored a bill that would require the state to maintain a unified economic development budget. The state Senate passed the bill in May.
Molinaro's plan seeks to bring an end to the long line of corruption cases involving officials close to Cuomo and state lawmakers, including former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
"What's happening in New York today is unacceptable, unaffordable and deeply unethical," he said. "Things must change."