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Authorities' Debt Tops $100 Billion, Reforms Proposed

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Representatives of 35 organizations joined with the state's two top-elected Democrats Monday in calling for legislative reforms of public authorities in New York.

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi and State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer called for reforms and greater accountability of the state's public authorities in February. "We have new information that they issued $115 billion in debt, that their revenues total $26 billion a year," Hevesi said. "They hire more than 100,000 people. They provide important services, but no one is supervising them. That causes an awful lot of grief."

According to Hevesi's report, the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority has $45.5 million in outstanding debt. 2002 revenues totaled $26.8 million.

Hevesi and Spitzer say authority borrowing should be approved in advance by the state Legislature.