Reports

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Economy

September 2022 —

New Yorkers and consumers across the nation are experiencing growing household debt. The average household debt in New York climbed to a new high of $53,830 at the end of 2021. While New Yorkers trail the national average debt burden ($55,810), student loan and credit card debt per capita were well above the national average, with student loan balances 335% higher than they were in 2003.

Fraud & Waste

September 2022 —

The New York State Legislature amended the State Finance Law in 2015 by adding a new Section 8-c providing for the establishment of a statewide electronic system to help detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in government spending and to help avoid improper payment of public funds.

Unclaimed Funds

August 2022 —

Despite the many challenges we all faced last year, State Fiscal Year 2021-22 was another productive year for the Office of Unclaimed Funds, returning $404 million to rightful owners.

Economy

August 2022 —

The agriculture industry supports jobs and communities throughout New York State. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown led to job losses across almost all industries in New York, but the agricultural sector proved to be among the most resilient, losing just 1 percent of jobs in 2020 compared to a statewide annual employment loss of 8.7 percent. Both employment and wages in the farming sector grew in 2021 to reach new highs.

Environment, Pension & Retirement

July 2022 —

The Climate Action Plan Progress Report for the New York State Common Retirement Fund highlights the Fund’s recent efforts to address climate risks and opportunities.

Budget & Finances

July 2022 —

Certain New York State agencies experienced major spikes in overtime during 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but most overtime was performed in agencies that have typically relied upon it. And while the pandemic does not appear to have prompted a ‘great resignation’ from the State workforce as of 2021, workforce reductions since 2012, and prior years covered by this report, have been accompanied by a notable boost in overtime.

Economy

July 2022 —

The devastating number of job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in residential customers owing money to their utility companies. Over the course of the pandemic, the amount in arrears increased significantly for all utilities and more than doubled on a statewide basis. In March 2022, one in eight residential customers were in arrears—more than 1.2 million customers statewide, with $1.8 billion owed to utility companies across the State.

Budget & Finances

July 2022 —

After two years of extraordinary volatility in State finances, the State Fiscal Year 2022-23 Enacted Budget Financial Plan projects fiscal stability for the next five years and includes plans to bolster rainy day reserves significantly. However, this report identifies several revenue, spending, and sustainability risks that could disrupt the Financial Plan that should be monitored closely.

Economy, Environment

June 2022 —

Outdoor recreation in New York provided $21.1 billion in economic activity in 2020 and supported over 241,000 jobs. While New York ranks fourth in the nation on GDP generated by outdoor recreation, outdoor recreation represents a more significant part of the economy in nearly every other state. Efforts to bolster tourism and protect the outdoors are important for spurring greater economic activity and enhancing access to and utilization of these amenities.

Budget & Finances, Economy

June 2022 —

The devastating job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a record number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims in New York, necessitating borrowing from the federal government beginning in May 2020. Two years later, the State’s UI debt has remained stubbornly high despite steady employment gains and state tax rates that have already increased to maximum permissible levels. Absent federal or state significant action, interest costs will mount and employers federal taxes will also grow.

MWBE, Pension & Retirement

May 2022 —

The New York State Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Asset Management and Financial Institution Strategy (Chapter 171, Laws of 2010*) was enacted to codify and replicate best practices for providing MWBEs that are asset managers, investment banks and financial and professional service providers with the opportunity to offer services to fiduciary-controlled entities established by New York State law.

Procurement

May 2022 —

For State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22, agencies paid vendors $1,005,376 in interest, a decrease of $445,842 (approximately 31 percent) from SFY 2020-21.

Budget & Finances, Fraud & Waste, Procurement

May 2022 —

The Comptroller is responsible for ensuring State and local governments use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently, including through the review of contracts. This year’s State budget allowed at least $11 billion in spending without a competitive process or the benefit of an OSC review. OSC’s oversight adds tremendous value, and contract review was completed in an average of just 5.3 days in 2021. A bill to statutorily restore certain OSC oversight authority for billions of dollars in contract spending should be enacted in this legislative session.

Budget & Finances

May 2022 —

The personal income tax (PIT) is the single largest source of revenue for the State of New York, accounting for two out of every three tax dollars collected by the State. Accordingly, the State’s overall financial health and its ability to sustain investments in public services is linked to PIT collections. This report describes recent trends in personal income taxpayer filings between 2015 and 2019. 

Budget & Finances

May 2022 —

Historic federal aid and better-than-expected revenues allowed for a steep increase in spending in the Enacted Budget. However, sustaining new recurring commitments over a longer time period may be difficult as new economic risks emerge, federal funding is spent down, and temporary tax revenues sunset. Bolstering reserve funds is essential for ensuring services New Yorkers rely on can be preserved through economic challenges and fiscal uncertainties.

Economy

March 2022 —

Median earnings for full-time working women in New York were 86 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2019, an annual wage gap of $8,821, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. While New York women earn more dollars relative to men than in most other states, women's median earnings continue to lag across occupational groups and other categories.

Budget & Finances, Federal Issues

March 2022 —

Historic relief funds from the federal government, provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, boosted New York’s per capita balance of payments from Washington from second-to-last in federal fiscal year 2019 to 40th in 2020. During this period, New York received $1.59 for every tax dollar paid to Washington, an increase from 91 cents from the prior year, but still below the national average of $1.92. 

Economy, Environment

February 2022 —

The number of jobs influenced by the green economy in New York exceeded one million in 2019 and 2020. New York’s efforts to promote sustainability not only encourage the creation of new jobs related to clean energy and energy efficiency, but they can also affect employment more broadly, requiring new skills in existing occupations and increasing demand for others. The State must fund educational and workforce development programs to grow the green economy and help bolster New York’s pandemic recovery.

Budget & Finances

February 2022 —

Although the Division of the Budget forecasts in the State Fiscal Year 2022-23 Executive Budget that the budget will remain in balance for the next five years, the direction of the pandemic, inflation, and supply chain issues all remain risks to the state’s economic recovery and financial plan. The budget also proposes billions of dollars in spending that would bypass critical oversight if enacted.

Update: Supplemental Report on the State Fiscal Year 2022-23 Executive Budget (As Amended by the Governor)

Budget & Finances, Infrastructure, Transportation

January 2022 —

While the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund was intended to provide a reliable, dedicated stream of funding for the State’s transportation projects, it long ago ceased to serve this purpose and is now largely devoted to repaying past borrowings and supporting current operating costs. As a result, vital highway and bridge projects are at increased risk because the State continues to use these limited resources primarily for purposes other than financing current capital projects.