Last week, the state Authorities Budget Office (ABO) released its annual report on Public Authorities in New York State.  Public authorities are quasi-public entities that can issue bonds and raise revenue, and further some public interest.

The ABO was created in 2009 to oversee, study, and report on the operations, practices and finances of public authorities in the state, and to enforce the fiduciary responsibilities vested in boards of directors by law. The ABO also makes recommendations to the governor and Legislature on numerous aspects of authority operations and governance, including financial practices, debt issuance, compensation and procurement practices, and property transactions, in order to enhance public authority performance and transparency.

According to the ABO report, New York had 553 state and local authorities in 2011, an increase of 63 from 2010.  The report recommends consolidating public authorities, streamlining the approval process for projects and limiting financial assistance.

We would like to see the governor and the Legislature take the ABO recommendations into consideration and begin more consolidation.  We need fewer layers of government and that includes the “shadow government” traditionally called public authorities.