Government Law Center Launches Public Authorities Blog

8/12/2011 | Facebook|Twitter|Email
Date: 08/12/2011

Albany Law School’s Government Law Center (GLC) recently launched a Public Authorities blog to provide up-to-date information and analysis on laws, practices and proposed reforms related to state and local public authorities in New York state.

“Public authorities in New York state alone are responsible for more than $53 billion in annual spending and account for more than $220 billion in debt,” said Amy Lavine, a GLC staff attorney and blog contributor. “The Public Authorities blog will be an essential resource for legal professionals and members of the public to learn more about these quasi-public entities and their impact on New York’s finances, as well as on the state’s infrastructure and public services.”

There are more nearly 500 public authorities in New York state, including the Empire State Development Corporation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York State Thruway Authority, as well as local public authorities such as industrial development agencies. The blog, written for government officials, public interest groups and others, has recently covered such topics as governmental transparency requirements and fiduciary obligations for public authorities.

Public authorities provide a corporate organizational structure, legally separate from government, to provide public services financed by user fees, including mass transit and roadways, power, water, and sewage treatment. Public authorities also manage capital assets and make long-term capital investments that are self-financed via tax-exempt bonds.

GLC Director and Albany Law School Associate Dean Patricia Salkin explained, “The Public Authorities blog is part of the GLC’s Public Authorities Project, which also includes the nationwide Public Authorities Clearinghouse and other training and research projects.” 

Contributors to the Public Authorities blog include Scott Fein, a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna and director of the Public Authorities Project; Patricia Salkin, GLC director, Albany Law School associate dean, and Raymond and Ella Smith Distinguished Professor of Law; and Amy Lavine, a GLC staff attorney.