Thomas DiNapoli

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.
 

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.”

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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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.

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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.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.

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.  

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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

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says last fiscal year, less than a quarter of the state's dedicated highway and bridge trust fund was used to pay for infrastructure maintenance. He says the rest of the money was spent on state debt payments and other operating costs.

Republican Sen. Joe Griffo, who represents Utica, Rome and Massena, is one of several state lawmakers supporting the BRIDGE Act, which would require that funds added to the account are used only for infrastructure projects.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been taking credit for a $2 billion budget surplus in his new spending plan. But critics say that claim is not entirely accurate because the windfall does not actually materialize for another two years, and only if certain conditions are met.

Cuomo is fond of comparing the differences in the state’s finances since taking office three years ago.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York's state comptroller says the Cuomo administration racked up a record $611 million in overtime payments over the past year.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the 16 percent increase in overtime payments between 2012 and 2013 comes mostly from employees in institutional settings, like prisons and psychiatric centers. The state police also paid troopers $35 million in overtime payments, at an average of over $74 an hour.  

DiNapoli says the uptick comes at a time when state government has been downsizing employees.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he’ll need to see more details and end of the calendar year state revenue figures before deciding whether the state can afford $2 billion in new tax cuts that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely to propose.

Governor Cuomo says he thinks if state spending is held to a 2 percent growth rate next year, there will be enough money in the state budget to finance $2 billion worth of property and business tax cuts.

Comptroller DiNapoli says he’s not so sure it will all add up.

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A new audit by the state comptroller finds that out of a sample of state workers at New York agencies and authorities, more than one fifth were double dipping, being paid for two jobs while only doing one.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Now that the elections are over, state budget deadlines are rapidly approaching. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a largely positive budget outlook for the new year, though he warns of some uncertainties.

Under reforms adopted a few years ago, state officials including the  comptroller, are required to start the budget process, which ends in late March, even earlier.

DiNapoli is out with his report, and he says the state budget is largely in balance.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

More than a quarter of all property in New York state is off the tax rolls, according to figures compiled by the state comptroller, who said it's a burden on local finances.

The 27 percent of un-taxed land in the state adds up to $680 billion in property value not being collected on, which is mostly concentrated in urban areas. The city with the most property off-limits is Rensselaer, with 65 percent.

A report by the state’s comptroller finds that the dysfunction in Washington may take a bite out of Wall Street profits for the remainder of this year.

The analysis by New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli finds the recent gridlock in Congress, higher interest rates, and the JP Morgan $13 billion settlement over bad mortgages is contributing to lower earnings and profits for New York’s financial industry.

The state comptroller says he’s looking for more start up companies and entrepreneurs to invest in, as part of a partnership between the state’s pension fund and private equity managers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

The New York state comptroller's office this week comes out with some numbers of great interest to local governments. Pension rates are one of the reasons many local governments, including the city of Syracuse, say they are in financial peril.

The city of Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy has left some in New York wondering whether any upstate cities will be next. State officials say they are trying to help with financial planning guidance, but local governments say more needs to be done.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has created a fiscal stress monitoring system that measures the financial health of New York’s local governments. A preliminary report found two dozen cities, counties and villages are moderately to severely fiscally stressed.

DiNapoli say he hopes they can avoid the fate of Detroit.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says he thinks he can work with Eliot Spitzer, should the former governor win the post of New York City comptroller, even though he is supporting his opponent in the contest.

DiNapoli says his endorsement of former Assemblyman and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer still stands.

“I can work with just about anybody,” DiNapoli said.

Though he qualified that assessment, saying he’ll have to see “how that plays out.”

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is trying to use the power of the pension fund to increase equal rights for same sex married couples, and has written a letter to President Obama.

DiNapoli is asking Obama to add a “place of celebration” clause to federal government rules and regulations that define benefits for married couples. He says that way, if one member of the couple works for a federal government agency or program, same sex marriages performed in New York and other states where it is legal could be recognized in states that do not allow gay marriages.

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