Thomas DiNapoli

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not been getting along with other Democrats in the state this summer.

For some time, Cuomo has appeared to have a feud with the Democratic mayor of New York City, but in recent weeks, the governor has directed scathing comments toward state Assembly Democrats.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo had harsh words for the state’s comptroller, a fellow Democrat, over questions about the value of the state’s economic development programs.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has conducted audits raising questions about the value of some of the programs, saying there’s not enough documentation in some cases that New Yorkers are getting their money’s worth.

Cuomo, speaking Tuesday in Buffalo, struck back when asked about DiNapoli and others who suggest the programs should be redesigned.

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Two western New York lawmakers have asked State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to review Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development projects.

The comptroller says an ongoing audit is already looking at some aspects of the increasingly controversial project and other Cuomo administration economic development initiatives that are currently under federal investigation.

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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.

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The city of Syracuse is staying out of fiscal stress, based on a system developed by the New York state comptroller’s office.

The city has never been flagged by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for having a government teetering towards insolvency.

“In the three years we’ve been doing this, Syracuse has never been in any stress categories and that certainly is very good news for this community,” said DiNapoli during a visit to Syracuse Monday.

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The New York State comptroller has issued an audit finding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has dropped the ball on some aspects of policing nursing homes.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli took the unusual step of holding a press conference to highlight an audit which concludes that the Cuomo administration is not adequately  fining or enforcing violations at nursing homes.

“Families need to know that their loved ones have safe accommodations and that providers are being held accountable when problems are found,” Di Napoli said.

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State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner are lobbying for more money from New York state to pay for infrastructure improvement. Standing in the shadow of the Evans Street Bridge in Syracuse that the state calls deficient, DiNapoli called on Albany to help localities fix bridges and roads that are falling apart. He said a recent report shows that local government spending on infrastructure has dropped dramatically.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been making frequent trips to upstate cities this summer, touting his success in reviving the regions’ faltering economy. But a new report from the New York state comptroller on job creation shows there is still some work to do.

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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he has no interest in challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a primary in three years, saying he prefers to seek re-election as comptroller.

DiNapoli, a favorite among many state Democrats (especially in the party’s left-leaning base), says he has no interest in running in a primary against Cuomo. The state comptroller says he intends to seek another term in his current post and says he’s set up a campaign committee for the comptroller’s slot for 2018.

“I happen to love this job,” DiNapoli says. “I think it’s the best job in state government.”

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New York state’s comptroller finds that local and school property taxes will increase by the lowest percentage in decades, under the rules of the tax cap program recently renewed by the state legislature.

According to the law, property taxes are capped at 2 percent per year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The projected rate of inflation for the 2016 calendar year is less than 1 percent, at .73 percent, says Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking credit for the state budget’s turnaround from huge gaps to healthy surpluses, but a watchdog group says Cuomo is relying on future funds that have not yet materialized.

Cuomo often lists his achievements as governor when he gives speeches. He likes to recount how he turned the state’s finances around, as he did in his inaugural address earlier this year.

“We turned a $10 billion deficit into a $5 billion surplus,” Cuomo said then.

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The head of New York state’s economic development agency says a recent report questioning its success is flawed.

In his testimony to a state Legislature budget hearing, outgoing Empire State Development Corporation Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the comptroller’s report on his agency is misleading.

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Maneuvering for the next speaker of the state Assembly is going on largely behind the scenes and government reform groups say that’s the wrong way to begin a new era in what’s been called the people’s house. They’ve asked the announced candidates to commit to an open process, and want an answer before the weekend.

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The first experiment with the state’s new public campaign financing law went out with a whimper. The method of parlaying private dollars into a public match fell short in the race for the state comptroller.

In order to get $1.2 million in state funds for his campaign, Republican state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci needed to get 2,000 people to donate between $10 and $175, and it had to amount to at least $200,000.

In the end, Antonacci fell about $50,000 short.

New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says SUNY's 29 state-operated colleges are doing a better job of reporting crimes on and around their campuses, but there is still more work to do. DiNapoli's office recently released an audit regarding the Clery Act, which he says was a follow up to an audit performed in 2008.
 

State pension funds hits another all-time high

Aug 28, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the state's estimated pension fund value has reached an all-time high, thanks to several factors.

"We've been benefiting obviously from the strong public markets, the stock market's been doing well and that's a significant part of our portfolio," DiNapoli said.

"So at the end of our first quarter -- and our fiscal year starts April 1 -- so at the end of the first quarter, which ended June 30, we were up to $180.7 billion. That is an historic high for us, so we're very, very pleased about the continued growth of the fund."

Those visiting the New York State Fair might stumble into some money, thanks to the state comptroller and the Office of Unclaimed Funds.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says there's about $13 billion in lost money throughout the state.

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The only statewide candidate participating in the pilot public campaign finance program says it’s been slow going. But Republican comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci expects to collect enough individual donors to qualify for the state's matching funds.

Antonacci has to convince 2,000 people to donate small amounts of money to his campaign by September 10, and raise $200,000 from them, in order to qualify for a grant that will give him six times the amount of money he raises by that date.

“It has been tedious at times,” Antonacci admits. “It’s been a lot of work.”

Former Altmar clerk-treasurer sentenced to prison time

Aug 5, 2014
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The former clerk and treasurer of the dissolved village of Altmar was able to get away with theft for five years, mainly because there was no system of internal controls within the village board, according to New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

DiNapoli trying to reduce account of unclaimed funds

Jun 18, 2014
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New York’s Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is trying to whittle down a fund of abandoned or unclaimed money owed to both individuals and municipalities.

DiNapoli’s office says there are more than 31 million accounts in the state with money sitting in them. It can be a utility deposit or old bank account that sat unused too long and was turned over to the state.

About 10,000 of those unclaimed funds belong to towns and cities throughout the state, worth more than $5 million.

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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is urging New Yorkers to invest in a 529 College Saving Program, which helps families save money for college tuition. DiNapoli says parents, grandparents and others can open an account for a child, and receive tax credits of up to $10,000 annually for their contributions.

More than 800,000 529 College Saving Program accounts have been set up in New York, but DiNapoli says many more could take advantage of the program.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was nominated for a second term at the Democratic Party convention on Long Island Wednesday.

Schneiderman touted his record, which he says includes getting back pay owed to fast food workers, cracking down on opioid and heroin abuse, and convincing gun show operators to voluntarily close legal loopholes and require background checks for purchases.

“It all is summed up in the notion of equal justice under law,” Schneiderman said.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be nominated to run for a second term as governor Thursday.

Before the happens, two other incumbents will be endorsed for a second full term; State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The only surprise expected at the convention is the announcement of Cuomo's running mate. Several names have been mentioned to replace Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who has opted not to seek a second term.

The governor and his aides have been keeping that name close to the vest. They're expected to reveal their choice later Wednesday.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.

Gov. Cuomo is facing pressure to revive an issue that failed in state budget negotiations -- enacting a public campaign financing system for statewide elections.

In the final budget deal, Cuomo agreed with legislative leaders to a pared-down public campaign finance system that would apply only to the state comptroller’s race, and sunset after this year.

The governor was immediately condemned by government reform groups who said the pilot program was cynically designed to fail. But Cuomo defended the deal, saying advocates were looking at the glass half empty.

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Onondaga County’s top financial officer will challenge his state-wide counterpart in the November election. Bob Antonacci says he can use the comptroller post to turn around New York.

Antonacci, the Republican Onondaga County comptroller, is a lawyer and certified public accountant. He says his background on the county level has prepared him for Albany.

He was asked last week by state GOP officials to challenge Democrat Thomas DiNapoli.

Your town or school's fiscal stress score, mapped

May 6, 2014

How stressed out is the checkbook in your hometown or school district? The New York comptroller's office recently finished scoring nearly 2,300 governments and school districts and tabulated their fiscal stress levels.

There are 142 municipalities in some level of fiscal stress, according to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The comptroller says the percentage score, with 100 percent being as stressed out as a municipality can get, is an "early warning system."

The state’s comptroller says he won’t be participating in a new pilot public campaign finance program agreed to in the state budget, and government reform groups say they don’t blame him.

Saying he won’t be a “convenient sacrificial lamb,” state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he won’t opt in to a test system for public campaign finance that applies only to his office, and would use money from the comptroller’s unclaimed funds to pay for it.  

-JvL- / Flickr

Lawmakers hurried to complete work on the state budget before the midnight deadline, but the spending plan is not without some controversy.

Legislators held a marathon voting session on several budget bills, in an attempt to beat the April 1 deadline. Some of the legislation was not technically printed until the wee hours of Saturday morning, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent an emergency message to waive the three day waiting period required by law.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

The state’s top accountant says a test public campaign finance plan that would apply only to his office is seriously flawed, and might even be unworkable. 

The budget provision, which first surfaced late Friday, would enact a pilot public campaign finance program limited to the comptroller’s office.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a long time supporter of public finance, says this plan comes too late in the election cycle, and relies on the State Board of Elections, a board widely viewed as incompetent, to set up the program.

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