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Politics and Government

DiNapoli pushes for more oversight of local development corporations

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Ellen Abbott
/
WRVO News File Photo
NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

As New York state lawmakers finish up this legislative session, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli hopes one item he’s been pushing for years makes it to the top of the agenda.

DiNapoli has been critical of the use of local development corporations. More commonly called LDCs, these not-for-profit corporations are often created by governments to help spur economic growth.

He says these entities create an environment where it’s easy for communities to use them to engage in back-door borrowing for projects that avoid competitive bidding requirements.

"It’s another example of entities that are set up with good intention often for economic development purposes, and we’ve seen some real difficulties. Where again, there hasn’t been the appropriate accountability or transparency about funding. Taxpayers often end up on the hook for decisions made by LDCs,” said DiNapoli, during a recent visit to Syracuse.

He says there have been recent investigations of misuse of these entities downstate and in Monroe County. He says that should help make his case for passing legislation allowing his office more oversight over LDCs

“I hope that especially given sentencings in Monroe and recent indictments in Ramapo and Rockland [County] that our proposal will get some serious attention. I think reforming how we oversee LDCs is long overdue in the state. There’s certainly plenty of time. This legislation’s been out there for years, it’s passed one house at different times, it’s time to pass both houses,” said DiNapoli.

The legislation would expand the comptroller’s authority to include direct audits of LDCs and similar entities that are controlled by local governments. The Assembly has already passed the legislation this session.