On Monday, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned that the state is approaching its debt limit, which may jeopardize critical infrastructure projects and other capital needs.

The Comptroller’s latest debt report shows that the state’s burden reached $63.3 billion at the end of the 2011-12 state fiscal year.  He also reported that the debt level is expected to reach $65.9 billion based on current plans, and will be just $509 million short of the state’s legal debt limit by the end of the next fiscal year.

The Comptroller said that if the state is to make significant infrastructure investments, such as those that have been suggested in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the state may have to rely on other sources.

The report also points out that New York’s outstanding debt averages $3,253 per state resident, almost three times the national median. New York’s state-funded debt total is second only to California.  New York’s debt has increased by $24.3 billion, 62.2%, from state fiscal year (SFY) 2002-03.  And that does not include any the vast Authority’s in New York that borrow money that is backed by New York state and all of us as taxpayers.

Comptroller DiNapoli has proposed what he calls comprehensive debt reform.  While we are pleased that the Comptroller is signaling the alarm on this important issue we have a better idea – let’s follow the state constitution, and ensure that all state borrowing is approved by the voters.