Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is the Democratic candidate for comptroller of New York. He is also running as a Working Families Party, Independence Party, Women’s Equality Party and Reform Party candidate. After representing New York’s 16th assembly district in the New York State Assembly for 20 years, he was first appointed comptroller in 2007, then elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. DiNapoli received his bachelor’s degree in history from Hofstra University, and his master’s degree from The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy.
1. What, in your opinion, are the most serious issues facing New York financially? How do you propose to handle them?
“The tax and fiscal changes coming out of Washington pose serious consequences to New Yorkers and the state’s budget. The full impact of the changes to the state and local tax deductions has yet to be felt by taxpayers, and if the federal government rolls back health care funding, there may be many New Yorkers with limited options for health insurance or health care. New York already is only getting 90 cents back for every dollar that we send to Washington. This means that New Yorkers are not getting their fair share and should be treated more equally. On the state level, I remain concerned about New York’s growing debt burden and lack of rainy day funds to assist the state should an economic downturn happen. I have proposed a series of legislative fiscal reforms to give voters a say when it comes to debt, require better infrastructure planning and create more transparency and accountability in the state budget.”
2. Broome County is currently susceptible to fiscal stress, according to financial reports from 2017. What are your plans to decrease fiscal stress across upstate New York?
“After seeing the growing fiscal challenges faced by communities around the state, my office created a fiscal stress ranking system to help local officials and residents identify red flags and work on solutions. This system is based on fiscal measures, such as debt, cash on hand and other factors that my auditors use to examine a municipality’s or a school district’s fiscal health. It is highly effective and helped sound the alarm for some communities. My office identified Broome County as being susceptible to fiscal stress and urged local officials to carefully examine the factors that give it this ranking. In addition to the ranking system, my office does in-depth financial and operational audits, provides technical assistance and trains hundreds of local government officials annually on a host of fiscal, accounting and budget issues. I have issued dozens of reports also looking at the systemic reasons for fiscal stress from crumbling infrastructure to state aid to foreclosures.”
3. Fighting corruption at the state level is a big concern for citizens across New York during this election cycle. How would you contribute to those efforts as comptroller? What would you do to help fight corruption?
“New Yorkers rightly expect that their tax dollars are being used wisely and the public officials have their best interests at heart. There have been too many times that taxpayers have been let down. As state comptroller, I have made fighting fraud, waste and abuse as one of my top priorities. I created a division in my office that partners with law enforcement to fight public corruption. These efforts resulted in more than 190 arrests and more than $54 million in restitution. After finding widespread abuse among special education contractors, I pushed for legislation to audit every contractor in the state. Our audits led to more than a dozen arrests and recovery of more than $17 million. I have aggressively audited the state’s Medicaid program and found more than $3.2 billion in abusive or wasteful spending. I’m using the powers of my office to fight corruption at every level of government and reporting back to taxpayers when we find problems.”
4. Why should students and young people across New York vote for you?
“As state comptroller, I am committed to using the office to create a better world for future generations. I have made it a priority to push corporations to disclose their impact on climate change and have invested $7 billion in climate change solutions. I have moved pension fund dollars out of gun manufacturing corporations and private prisons, and am committed to being an active shareholder by holding corporations accountable. I also audit every public school district in the state to ensure equitable education for all. I first ran for public office at 18 years old because I felt that my local school board needed a young person’s perspective. I am committed to the issues that matter to young people and students, and look forward to continuing to partner and learn from them as state comptroller.”