Public authorities and IDAs urgently need reform, Skoufis says

Originally published in The Photo News on December 29, 2019.

Chester. The committee's recommendations include prohibiting elected officials from serving on these quasi-governmental boards, whose debt has ballooned to $281 billion; and increased oversight through the filling of 400 board vacancies.

A nine-month investigation found stronger enforcement is needed to make sure public agencies in New York State comply with the law.

With billions of dollars spent by public authorities every year, new laws and oversight tools are urgently needed to protect taxpayers, said Sen. James Skoufis, who opened the investigation in March.

Skoufis, chair of the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, looked into the compliance and practices of 143 public authorities across the state, including state authorities, local authorities, industrial development agencies (IDAs), and local development corporations. The committee’s document requests produced evidence of potential collusion between these quasi-governmental agencies and the governmental entities that consider local approvals for a project.