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March 5, 2013

New York’s authority complex

E.J. McMahon

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is out today with a new report on New York State’s public authorities. He counts 1,169 of them, including 324 on the state level, 837 local authorities and eight “Interstate/International.”

Authority debts total nearly $244 billion, including $58 billion in bonds issued on behalf of the state government itself — i.e., “backdoor borrowing” that circumvents the state constitutional preference for voter approval of state debt.

In fiscal years 2012 and 2013, Governor Cuomo has been authorized to “sweep” $700 million from authority coffers into the state budget. DiNapoli’s report points out:

These transfers shift costs from the State’s general tax base to users of authority services, and reduce accountability for authority resources; they also may diminish the authorities’ ability to provide services at affordable costs.

Read more here.

Filed under: public authorities

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