Letter Economic Development

Governor Should Sign Bill Authorizing OSC Oversight of LDCs

A Letter to Governor Cuomo

December 18, 2019

Dear Governor Cuomo,

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) urges you to sign A7476/S5445, which will provide needed oversight by authorizing the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) to audit local development corporations (LDCs). Local governments in New York State provide $5.6 billion annually in financial assistance to businesses directly or through municipally controlled Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) and LDCs.1 LDCs have the power to buy and sell property, borrow money, issue debt, and give grants and loans. In 2017 at least 192 LDCs focused on economic development spent a total of $1.2 billion.2

Little is known about whether these resources are being used effectively in service of taxpayers. CBC has recommended authorizing OSC to audit LDCs, a power that it currently has for IDAs. The Authorities Budget Office reports that approximately a quarter of LDCs fail to submit required annual reports, and information that is submitted frequently is inaccurate.3

Improving oversight of LDCs is necessary to safeguard against misuse of public resources. I urge you to sign this bill to enhance accountability of local economic development.


Andrew S. Rein


  1. Riley Edwards, 10 Billion Reasons to Rethink Economic Development in New York (Citizens Budget Commission, February 11, 2019), https://cbcny.org/research/10-billion-reasons-rethink-economic-development-new-york.
  2. CBC staff analysis of data from Authorities Budget Office, “Summary Financial Information for Local Development Corporations” (accessed July 17, 2019, last updated June 10, 2019), https://data.ny.gov/Transparency/Summary-Financial-Information-for-Local-Developmen/wgry-y5zd.
  3. Authorities Budget Office, Annual Report on Public Authorities in New York State (July 1, 2017), pp. 58 & A1, www.abo.ny.gov/reports/annualreports/ABO2017AnnualReport.pdf.