A new report shows New York’s 46 state public authorities spent $30.3 billion in operating expenses last year, up $1.5 billion over 2012. This is out of a total state budget of $138.8 billion.
The state Authorities Budget Office says the spending has risen 17.6 percent since 2009 even as staffing declined by more than 2,800 over those five years. That’s double direct state government’s 8.6 percent spending increase.
Authorities were created by the Legislature to carry out specific tasks, like overseeing highways, power stations, New York City’s transit system and other public works. They are usually run by board members, many appointed by the governor or mayor, and are supposed to operate independently of the government executives.
The report shows state authorities ended 2013 with $151.9 billion in outstanding debt, up 6.4 percent since 2009.