Assemblymen Richard Brodsky, D-Greenburgh, and Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, introduced a measure today aimed at eliminating 129 public authorities and agencies the lawmakers believe have outlived their usefulness.
New York, by some estimates, has more than 700 and as many as 911 public authorities and commission. While some, like the Thruway Authority, continue to serve a tangible purpose, others have not functioned in years but remain on the books.
Brodsky, one of five Democrats running for attorney general this year, said his plan would be anathema to urban planner Robert Moses, the father of the state’s intricate web of public commissions.
“What we’re doing today has Robert Moses spinning in his grave,” Brodsky said at a news conference in Albany. “We’re beginning the process of undoing what he did.”
Moses and his life-long ambition of reshaping New York through the building of parks, beaches and other attractions, was chronicled in The Power Broker, a 1974 book by the journalist Robert Caro.
The bill has no sponsor in the Senate, but Brodsky and Hoyt believed a lawmaker there would take up the cause. The new measure comes six months after the passage of the Public Authorities Reform Act, which outlined the process of reigning in the public authorities in the state.
While it is unclear how much the authority downsizing in today’s bill would save taxpayer, a study by Wagner College in 2008 found that public authorities have $43 billion in debt combined.