New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today $1.8 billion in federal stimulus funds have been spent so far in New York State.
“New York will be spending billions of federal stimulus dollars in the next two years,” DiNapoli said. “Stimulus funds are ‘use it or lose it’ dollars ― the federal government requires that we spend this money quickly or New York forfeits our share. My office is tracking stimulus spending every step of the way. We want to make sure that businesses have an equal chance to compete for these projects, New York is paying a fair price and the people know where their dollars are going. This is our opportunity to move the state’s economy forward and we cannot afford to blow it. We must ensure that every stimulus dime counts.”
Of the $1.8 billion, $1.7 billion was provided to the state and counties for Medicaid costs. Another $73 million was spent for extended unemployment insurance and to assist dislocated workers.
DiNapoli’s office also approved the first state contract using stimulus money. The contract was awarded to Slate Hill Constructors for $733,831 for culvert rehabilitation in the Towns of Urbana and Pulteney in Steuben County, including fixing drainage problems on the west side of Keuka Lake. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) received eight bids in total for the project. DOT’s original estimate for the project prior to receiving bids was $885,000.
By law, the Comptroller’s office accounts for all federal funds, reviews and approves contracts for state agencies, and pays the state’s bills. The Comptroller’s independent oversight makes certain that the contract process is fair, complies with the law and taxpayers get the best value for their tax dollars. Last fiscal year, the office reviewed about 35,000 contracts, processed about 130,000 state payments daily and accounted for over $40 billion in federal grant awards.
DiNapoli has designated staff to conduct in-depth, expedited reviews of contracts involving federal stimulus money. Staff will be looking for companies who may be pricing goods or services higher than what is considered reasonable. Bills will also be examined to watch for waste, fraud and abuse.
In February, DiNapoli said the federal stimulus should not be used as a bailout for the state’s fiscal crisis. He also announced his office will make information public on how New York spends federal stimulus money on Open Book New York (www.openbooknewyork.com). Stimulus spending is expected to be up on Open Book New York in late May.