New York State Has Second-Highest Debt in U.S., Comptroller Says

New York ranks second in the country in total state debt, only after California.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York State has the second-highest debt total in the United States, and it’s expected to grow in the coming years, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

New York’s state-funded debt is expected to reach $63.7 billion at the end of the current fiscal year and increase over the following four years to $71.8 billion, according to a report released by DiNapoli on Thursday morning. New York’s current total state debt is second only to California’s, which is at $87 billion.

The average amount of debt for every man, woman and child in the state is $3,116, three times the median for all states, the report found. And the annual debt service payments — the amount of money needed to reimburse debts over a period of time — are projected to surpass $8.2 billion by the end of state fiscal year 2021-2022.

DiNapoli called for reforms to New York’s use of debt, including voter approval of borrowing and better capital planning for infrastructure projects.

“New York faces tremendous infrastructure challenges and the wise use of debt can be an essential part of the financing picture,” DiNapoli said. “Still, backdoor borrowing imposes significant costs on taxpayers, lacks transparency and may limit flexibility in providing important services and programs. My debt reform proposal would help ensure effective capital planning and manageable debt levels.”

New York State Has Second-Highest Debt in U.S., Comptroller Says