Special Feature Capital Spending

NYC Debt Outstanding

February 19, 2018

At the end of fiscal year 2017, New York City debt outstanding grew to $116 billion. As total debt has grown—by 71 percent since 2005—the forms of debt the City issues have also diversified. This growth affects the City budget in the form of higher debt service costs. For City-supported debt, debt service costs were about 11 percent of tax revenues in fiscal year 2017. 

    • GO - General Obligation debt is backed by the full faith and credit of the City of New York. It is used to fund the bulk of the City's capital projects and is backed by City tax dollars.
    • TFA - The New York City Transitional Finance Authority was created in 1997 to finance a portion of the capital plan. TFA debt is backed by the personal income tax and has an even better rating than GO debt.
    • TFA BARBs - TFA Building Aid Revenue Bonds finance school construction and are backed by State building aid.
    • MWFA - The Municipal Water Finance Authority was created in 1985 to fund sewer and water capital construction projects. Its bonds are backed by dedicated water and sewer fees.
    • HYIC - Hudson Yards Infrastructure Development Corporation bonds are used to fund the extension of the 7 line and other development within the Hudson Yards Financing District.
    • MAC/STARC - The Municipal Assistance Corporation was created during the 1970s fiscal crisis as an alternative debt vehicle to the Citys GO bonds. In 2005 the remaining debt was refinanced with debt issued by the Sales Tax Asset Receivable Corporation. Debt service on STARC bonds is paid by dedicated state sales tax revenues.
    • TSASC - The Tobacco Settlement Asset Securitization Corporation securitized revenues from a 1998 settlement with the cigarette industry.
    • ECF - The New York City Educational Construction Fund issues bonds to finance construction and renovation of schools, often in combined occupancy arrangements.
    • Conduit debt - This includes older debt issued by a state authority for hospitals and courts and debt issued by the New York City Industrial Development Corporation for private and nonprofit agencies with the goal of fostering economic benefits.