DiNapoli says he's doing more than other comptrollers to fight graft
New York's top fiscal watchdog says he has been directly involved in fighting political corruption in the state. His opponent for state comptroller in November's election says otherwise.
Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat, has been state comptroller since 2007. This year, he's being challenged by Republican Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci, who was formally nominated by the GOP at their state convention Wednesday.
At his nomination, Antonacci said DiNapoli is "a nice guy" but hasn't done enough to crack down on political graft.
DiNapoli responded Wednesday evening at a rally in Syracuse.
"He doesn't seem to know very much; he needs to get his facts right," he said.
DiNapoli said he's elevated the role of the comptroller's office to be more involved in fighting corruption.
"We’ve been on the frontline and if you look at the number of arrests and the amount of restitution we’ve gotten, I don’t think anyone’s done more than we have in this office," he said.
DiNapoli will not take part in a new pilot public campaign financing program passed by the state legislature this year, saying its flawed. Antonacci will participate and receive funds from the state for hsi campaign.
The comptroller is responsible for auditing the finances of local and state agencies and their contracts. The position is also responsible for managing the state's pension fund.
Pension fund payments
Meanwhile, numbers were released this week showing that the retirement account for state workers continues to improve, said DiNapoli, the state's top number cruncher.
The pension fund for retired state employees is at a record high of $176.2 billion. That’s after it took a hit during the recession and put more strain on local governments to pay into the system.
Those local government payments will likely fall again this year, DiNapoli said.
"We don’t have the numbers yet, we’re going to announce those in a couple of months. But when you have an over 13 percent positive return like we had for the year that ended March 31, it looks like a pretty likelihood that we’re going to be able to reduce those bills once again," he said.
Pension payments are one of the largest expenditures in budgets on the state and local level. There are million active and retired members of the state fund.