Cuomo’s latest ‘economic development’ fiasco

Add yet another item to the list of white elephants in Gov. Cuomo’s upstate “economic development” zoo.

This time it’s the factory that was built over the past two years for Soraa, a lightbulb manufacturer, that was supposed to bring 420 new jobs and $1.3 billion in investment to Syracuse.

After taxpayers spent $90 million to erect the plant, Soraa pulled out two months ago without having to put down a dime — and with no requirement that it pay any penalties. In fact, the company had actually demanded tens of millions more in improvements.

And to top it off, the Empire State Development Corp. just approved — with no public disclosure or input — another $15 million so the factory can be refitted for a California start-up headed by a CEO whose previous firm pulled out of its own upstate deal before going bust.

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco says this whole deal “doesn’t smell right.” He’s being kind: Actually, it stinks.

Indeed, DeFrancisco first learned of the new deal from a news story published just hours before the ESDC vote, of which he was also unaware. And he represents the area.

He also has the questions we do. Why isn’t Soraa facing any financial penalties for walking away? The new company, NexGen, reportedly would have to pay something — but no one will specify how much.

And what makes Team Cuomo so certain NexGen will follow through on its promises, given its CEO’s past history?

It’s just the latest of the governor’s upstate schemes to implode. Taxpayers have shelled out over $1 billion on such projects as Solar City, the Central New York Film Hub and Utica’s Ams AG plant — with precious little to show for it. Especially, few of all those promised new jobs.

The new Syracuse deal still needs approval from the Public Authorities Control Board. That shouldn’t happen until all those questions are answered — publicly.