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November 26, 2008



DiNapoli Warns State Agencies on
Appropriate Use of State Travel Credit Cards

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has issued a bulletin to all state agencies on the rules for state-issued credit cards. DiNapoli’s warning comes amidst the state’s looming budget deficits and efforts to clamp down on state spending.

“The state’s finances are in bad shape. And things will probably get worse before they get better. Now, like the citizens we serve, we have to find ways to control spending and account for every dime,” DiNapoli said. “State agencies must carefully monitor all travel expenses, eliminate unnecessary travel and remind employees that state-issued cards can only be used for appropriate and reasonable expenses. Everyone must play by these rules. If they don’t, my office is watching expenses closely and will take appropriate steps if questionable or excessive charges are identified.”

DiNapoli intends to issue a series of bulletins to help state agencies review and control spending. He urged state employees with concerns about questionable or excessive travel costs to contact their agency’s administrative department or the Comptroller’s office.

Appropriate use of state-issued travel credit cards include:

  • State employees may use a travel credit card to pay for travel expenses when they are on official state business and are in travel status. A state employee is in travel status when they are more than 35 miles from both their official station (where they work) and their home. When traveling on official state business, only actual, necessary and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. Examples of allowable expenses include transportation, meals, lodging, gas, tolls, parking, conference fees, telephone charges related to official state business and unanticipated work supplies. Any work supplies purchased becomes the property of New York State.
  • State employees cannot use their travel credit card for personal charges or use it to purchase meals or other items on days when they are not in travel status. Examples of expenses not allowed include entertainment, charges associated with non-work related events, expenses for non-state employee business associates, meals associated with business meetings, the expenses of a spouse or other family members, and telephone charges not related to state business.
  • Improper or unauthorized charges may result in mandated reimbursement to the state and revocation of user privileges.
  • State employees’ agencies and the Office of the State Comptroller will audit the use of travel credit cards and take appropriate action. If a card has been used inappropriately, it will be investigated and could result in termination of employment or in extreme cases criminal prosecution.
  • State employees must account for all travel card charges on their travel voucher and submit it promptly so the charges can be reconciled to the central bill. Failure to submit travel vouchers in a timely manner may result in revocation of travel credit cards.

Click here for a copy of the bulletin.

For more information on the rules governing state travel, see the New York State Travel Manual.

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