Comptroller DiNapoli's Legislative Program
Since taking office in 2007, Comptroller DiNapoli has proposed legislation to increase accountability and transparency of New York state and local government. These efforts have focused on reforming not only the investment practices of the Common Retirement Fund, the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System, the New York Police and Fire Retirement System, but also the State budget process, state procurement practices and school accountability. Comptroller DiNapoli is committed to strengthening New York’s laws to:
- Ensure accountability, transparency and appropriate spending of taxpayer dollars,
- Stop fraud and abuse,
- Improve the effectiveness of government programs, and
- Protect the interests of New York’s citizens.
Legislative Session 2013-2014:
- Extend Repayment of Inter-fund Advances Signed into law on October 22, 2013 as Chapter 421 of the laws of 2013 (Comptroller's Hurricane Sandy Program Bill # 1) – S. 4725 (Rules) and A. 5549 (Magnarelli) – Inter-fund advances normally must be repaid within the fiscal year in which they occur. This proposal would extend the time for repaying these internal loans.
- Use of Reserve Funds Signed into law on October 22, 2013 as Chapter 422 of the laws of 2013(Comptroller's Hurricane Sandy Program Bill # 2) – S. 4726 (Rules) and A. 5550 (Magnarelli) - Temporarily ease restrictions on the use of reserve funds to allow impacted local governments and school districts to pay for Sandy-related expenses.
- Issuance of Storm Bonds Signed into law on November 13, 2013 as Chapter 476 of the laws of 2013(Comptroller's Hurricane Sandy Program Bill # 3) – S. 4729 (Rules) and A. 5551 (Magnarelli) – Provide local governments flexibility in borrowing to pay for storm costs. The changes would allow local governments to issue bonds to be repaid over five years. Local governments are normally restricted from borrowing money to pay for non-capital expenses.
- Permit Property Assessment Adjustments (Comptroller's Hurricane Sandy Program Bill # 4) – S. 4727 (Rules) and A. 5552 (Galef) – Give local governments impacted by Sandy the option of providing property tax relief to owners of properties that lost 50 percent or more of their value due to the storm. Property owners of heavily damaged properties could apply to have their assessment and tax liability reduced. Similar legislation was enacted in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
- Fiscal Reform Act of 2013 (Comptroller's Program Bill #1) – S. 4027 (Libous) and A. 5436 (Farrell) - Requires the Governor to identify actions to close out-year gaps as part of the state’s Financial Plan; expand the forecast to include all revenues and resources available for spending; increase reserves to cushion against budget shocks; prohibits using one-shots to pay for ongoing expenses; require joint legislative conference committees to meet publicly to negotiate the budget; establish a new Capital Asset/Infrastructure Council; and require the Executive to report 3 years of detailed spending information.
- Fiscal Reform Act - Constitutional Amendment (Comptroller's Program Bill #2) – S. 4026 (Libous) and A. 7301 (Farrell) - Allows for emergency borrowing in times of public emergency, prohibits “back-door borrowing,” and limits total state debt to no more than 5 percent of total state personal income.
- Comptroller Campaign Finance Reform Act(Comptroller's Program Bill #3) – S. 4239 (Rules) and A. 7394 (Silver) – Enacts the Comptroller Campaign Finance Reform Act to provide for public financing for campaigns for the office of State Comptroller.
- Local Development Corporations - Audit (Comptroller’s Program Bill #4) – S. 4497 (Martins) and A. 3633 (Magnarelli) - Relates to comptroller audits of certain organizations controlled by municipal corporations and certain other government entities.
- Local Development Corporations - Regulation (Comptroller’s Program Bill #5) – S. 4240-A (Rules) and A. 3631-A (Brennan) - Limits and regulates local governments' use of Local Development Corporations (LDCs) and similar entities.
- Natural Gas Damage Compensation Fund (Comptroller's Program Bill # 6) –S. 4028 (Libous) and A. 3634 (Sweeney) – Establishes the natural gas production contamination response and compensation program; and creates the New York natural gas production contamination damage recovery and remediation fund.
- Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) (Comptroller’s Program Bill #7) – S. 4279 (Martins) and A. 3636 (Abbate) - To provide the State and certain local governments with the authority to establish trusts in which to accumulate assets for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) and to establish an OPEB investment fund in the sole custody of the State Comptroller for the investment of OPEB assets of the State and participating eligible local governments and other public corporations.
- Procurement Reform (Comptroller’s Program Bill #8) – S. 4076 - A (Marcellino) and A. 3884 - A (Englebright) - Specifies the procedures to be used in program procurement and allows the Comptroller to excuse non-material deviations in certain procurement procedures.
- Industrial Development Agencies (Comptroller’s Program Bill #9) – S. 5551 (Rules) - Provides for accountability and efficiency of industrial development agencies.
- Local Government Ethics (Comptroller’s Program Bill #10) - A. 6596 (Magnarelli) – Relates to conflicts of interest of municipal officers and employers; codes of ethics and boards of ethics; repealer.
- Enhanced Penalties for Abuse of Public Trust Crimes (Comptroller’s Program Bill #11) – S. 4044 (Golden) and A. 3629 (Abbate) - Imposes a mandatory fine upon certain public officers convicted of a designated felony offense related to their official duties; relates to the crime of official misconduct and to abuse of public trust crimes.
- Placement Agent Ban (Comptroller’s Program Bill #12) – S. 4238 (Rules) and A. 3635 (Abbate) - Codifies the current OSC policy which bans the use of placement agents, paid intermediaries and registered lobbyists in obtaining investments with the Common Retirement Fund.
- Special Education Preschool Provider Program Oversight (Comptroller's Program Bill # 13) - S. 5568 - A (Flanagan) and A. 7302 - A (Nolan) - Requires the Comptroller to audit the expenses reported to the Department of Education by every special education services program provider for preschool children with disabilities in this State at least once by March 31, 2018. Additionally, requires such providers to certify that it meet certain criteria. Finally, directs the Department of Education to study alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities.
- Payment of Retirement Benefits (Comptroller’s Program Bill #15) – S. 5608 (Gallivan) and A. 7784 (Abbate) - Requires the payment of retirement benefits by the New York State and Local Retirement System by direct deposit or debit card, with the transition to the new method of payment being made incrementally.
- Sewer Debt Extender (Comptroller’s Program Bill #16) – Ballot proposition #3 - Passed November 5, 2013.Takes effect January 1, 2014. S. 4065 (Martins) and A. 3632 (Magnarelli) - Extends until 1/1/2024 the authority of counties, cities, towns & villages to exclude from constitutional debt limits indebtedness related to sewage facilities.
- Public Authorities Reform Act Cleanup (Comptroller’s Program Bill #17) – S. 4075 (Marcellino) and A. 3630 (Brennan) – Makes necessary changes to the Public Authorities Reform Act of 2009.
- Education Package (Comptroller’s Program Bill #18) – S. 4182-A (Flanagan) and A. 3733-A (Nolan) – Requires boards of education to authorize an increase in funding of reserve funds by resolution, requires school districts to include a schedule of all reserve funds in the districts' public budget notices, allows school districts to establish reserve funds to pay for the Teachers' Retirement System employer costs.
- Pre-Audit - State Insurance Fund (Comptroller’s Program Bill #19) – S. 4034 (Seward) and A. 3732 (Heastie) - Relates to the pre-audit of expenditures from the state insurance fund by the state comptroller; repealer.
- Pollution Exclusion (Comptroller’s Program Bill #20) – S. 4041 (Grisanti) and A. 3734 (Weisenberg) – Eliminates the pollution exclusion clause for oil spills in homeowner insurance policies.
- Refund of Surcharges and Fees (Comptroller’s Program Bill #21) – S. 4485 (Nozzolio) and A. 7182 (Mosley) - Corrects a technical error in the Penal Law so that applications for the refund of certain mandatory surcharges and fees are sent to the department, agency or court that collected the surcharge or fee rather than the State Comptroller.
- Electronic Bidding Extender Signed into law on July 31, 2013 as Chapter 298 of the laws of 2013 (Comptroller's Program Bill # 23) – S. 5559 (Martins) and A. 7212 (Magnarelli) - Extends the expiration date of the law relating to electronic bidding
which allows greater flexibility to local governments in conducting public sales of bonds and soliciting bids and offers for purchase contracts by authorizing utilization of current technology to accept bids and offers submitted in an electronic format.