Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that the Governor signed Skoufis’ bill S.5445 into law, authorizing the State Comptroller’s office to audit Local Development Corporations (LDCs) across the state.
LDCs operate in counties, cities, towns, villages, and other local governments throughout the state for economic development purposes. All too frequently, however, LDCs have been riddled with corruption, resulting in a significant waste of taxpayer dollars.
Previously, the State Comptroller did not have the authority to directly audit LDCs and other similar types of private organizations, even when they are controlled by a local government entity.
Earlier this month, Skoufis released a report on public authorities in New York State which found that in 2018 LDCs compiled $20 billion in outstanding debt. The Committee reported that expanding the scope of potential audits to the State Comptroller’s office would provide greater assurance that private entities are acting in the public interest.
“This bill is a critical step in rooting out corruption and inefficiencies in LDCs,” said Skoufis.“My report into public authorities made it glaringly clear that this system has allowed private entities to cheat taxpayers and is in desperate need of wholesale reform. New York State’s residents are warranted far more accountability and responsibility with their money, and by giving the State Comptroller the authority to audit LDCs, we’re moving towards providing the transparency that our constituents deserve.”
“When organizations rely on taxpayer resources to operate, they should be subject to oversight and be held accountable. With this new authority, my office can audit Local Development Corporations and make certain they are operating efficiently and creating real results for taxpayers,” DiNapoli said.
The bill was signed into law on December 23, 2019, and goes into effect immediately. Senator Skoufis’ full report into public authorities in New York State, including Local Development Corporations can be found here.