Tarrytown Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) is calling for an increase in funding for the Authorities Budget Office (ABO) in the 2018-19 State Budget.
The Authorities Budget Office cannot be the watchdog it was intended to be because it is not properly funded, said Abinanti. The $1.936 million in the governors proposed budget is far less than even the $2.7 million suggested by the legislature in 2009 when it revamped the office and gave it additional responsibilities.
Late last week, a consortium of watchdog and fiscal groups wrote to Albany officials urging a substantial increase in funding for the ABO to $3.105 million. Their letter highlights the need for more staffing as well as undated technology and data systems. They noted that the ABO is charged with overseeing and auditing the States 578 state and local authorities including the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York State Thruway Authority, New York Power Authority and the Empire State Development Authority as well as myriad Local Development Corporations and Industrial Development Authorities operated by counties, cities and towns which collectively spend $51 billion a year and hold $270 billion in public debt.
The ABO is funded by a small portion of an assessment on authorities so its budget does not impact the General Fund.
The opportunity for cost savings is tremendous. said the Assemblyman Abinanti. Appropriately funding the ABO is a necessary step towards improving government transparency and accountability.