Our newest report, Spending in the Shadows, illuminates $11.7 billion in nonspecific lump sum funding “pots” found in the New York FY 2019 Executive Budget. Spending in the Shadows is the fifth report identifying these expenditures, proceeding without information as to their specific uses or beneficiaries. New Yorkers need a clear way to be informed of billions budgeted, without any public reporting from the New York State Assembly or State Senate, over the past five years.
An addendum to this report shows that $937 million in nonspecific funding was added into the FY 2019 Enacted Budget. This brings the total to $12.7 billion in funds that lack sufficient accountability.
In this addendum, we uncovered close to $1 billion dollars in additional opaque funding to those already proposed in the Executive Budget. These additions bring the total to $12.7 billion in public funds that can be spent without any real accountability.
The types of funds identified have no conditions for spending or requirements to report on the outcome, leaving them susceptible to misuse and waste. They are comprised of $2.6 billion in money controlled by individual elected officials. Elected officials, who are given the authority to make spending decisions often outside of the formal budget process and without public oversight; and $10.1 billion for economic development and infrastructure projects that have no meaningful criteria for spending and few requirements, if any, to report the results.
The additional nonspecific funds total $937 million, with $454 million controlled by individual elected officials and $483 million in economic development and infrastructure funding.
The report also contains recommendations to reform state law and budgeting practices to ameliorate the obscurity of this type of state spending. (addendum added 5/3/2018)