E-mail address: Info@abo.ny.gov
STATE OF NEW YORK
Authorities Budget Office
P O Box 2076
Albany, NY 12220-0076
Local:518-474-1932 Toll Free: 1-800-560-1770
A Message from the Director of the Authorities Budget Office
July 1, 2014 In accordance with Section 7 of Title 2 of the Public Authorities Law, the Authorities Budget Office (ABO) is pleased to issue its eighth annual report on the financial operations, practices, and structure of state and local public authorities.
Since the ABO’s first report
in 2007, the number of state and local authorities subject to the reporting and governance provisions of the Public Authorities Accountability Act and the 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act has more than doubled from 281 to 568. This net increase is almost exclusively attributable to the
ABO’s persistent effort to identify and subject to reporting not
-for-profit corporations created, sponsored by, or affiliated with local governments. At the same time
, the ABO has worked with the Governor’s Office,
the Legislature, municipal officials and officers and representatives of public authorities to officially dissolve approximately 150 state and local authorities determined to be inactive, defunct, or otherwise no longer performing the purpose for which they were created. Legislation that would dissolve an additional 37 authorities
has passed the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature
. In the past year, 9 not for profit corporations that met the definition of a local authority were also legally dissolved and 10 notified the ABO of their intent to dissolve. The information found in this report provides a useful, but incomplete, starting point to assess the activities, finances and operations of New Yor
k’s state and local authorities; p
articularly as the data relates to evaluating the quantifiable impact of public authorities on economic growth, job formation, or the
management of the State’s infrastructure. We caution that this information cannot be the sole criteria
for measuring the effectiveness of public authorities or for determining the community benefits derived from the financial tradeoffs often made by these authorities. Several general observations and conclusions can be drawn from this report, based on the information provided by state and local authorities.
Although public authorities are expected to act as independent public bodies governed by boards of directors with a fiduciary duty to the authority, one-third of all current board members are elected or appointed public officials. Public officials on these boards are faced with the difficult task of separating the responsibilities and obligations of their public positions from the fiduciary duty they must exercise as directors of a public authority.
While public authorities award and expend billions of dollars in public funds annually, more than 25 percent of all authorities reported to us that they have no staff to carry out daily administrative and financial activities. This raises questions as to how these entities can function effectively.
The presence of an IDA or an LDC, the number of projects assisted by these entities, and the amount of financial assistance provided to projects has little correlation to any change in private