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NYS Controller's Race: A Fair Contest?

Scott Willis

Republican candidate for state controller Bob Antonacci of Onondaga County says being the guinea pig for the state’s public campaign finance program is proving to be a lot tougher than he thought.  
  The certified public accountant and current county controller stopped by Salina Town Hall Tuesday to meet with seniors, hoping to drum up financial and electoral support.  Antonacci says taxpayer financed campaigns are still foreign to most, and derided by others.

"I thought it would be much simpler for someone of my background to raise the necessary funds to fight for New York, to carry our message to all New Yorkers, and it's frankly been very, very difficult.   Explaining the program, people within my own party do not believe in taxpayer financed program, so we've had some pushback from that, we've had some people who decided not to donate because of that."

Add to that the general lack of interest in a rather unglamorous post, and Antonacci says it’s been uphill all the way.  He says he has to raise the necessary matching funds by the end of the week to run a viable campaign in the remaining weeks.  Meanwhile, Antonacci hopes a live televised debate Wednesday , Oct. 15th with incumbent Democrat tom DiNapoli raises his profile.  It’ll be broadcast on Time Warner Cable News.  

Credit Office of the State Controller
State Controller Tom DiNapoli


 New York State has received a multi billion dollar windfall from bank settlements this year, but a new report from the State Comptroller shows the settlement took a bite out of Wall Street profits in 2014, which could have repercussions for the state budget in the future.

Capital correspondent Karen DeWitt reports on the details of Tom DiNapoli's annual report on Wall Street.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reports Wall Street profits are down by 13% so far in 2014, compared to the previous year, 2013, when profits had already shrunk by 30%.
“Certainly we’re seeing profits, but down from what we saw last year,” DiNapoli said.
Comptroller DiNapoli says the biggest reason is the large number of bank settlements in recent years. Since
2009, the six largest bank holding companies have agreed to pay an estimated $130 billion in settlement
The settlements have created an unexpected windfall for New York’s coffers. The state has reaped $4.5 billion dollars from settlements including JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup.  The Comptroller says the industry is “paying a price for behavior that contributed to the financial crisis”, and he predicts there will be more settlements.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it ,” the Comptroller said.
But the downturn in profits, as well as the continued  decline  of high paying jobs in the financial industry could  depress tax state collections, and leave less money to spend on things like health care and education. The state gets nearly 20% of its total tax revenues from Wall Street related business. Last year it was about $13.2 billion dollars.
So far, though, the Comptroller says it looks like the state and the City of New York will collect the amount of taxes estimated in their “conservative” future projections.
DiNapoli says the large loss of Wall Street jobs since the 2008 crash is a concern, with 10,500 fewer positions just in the past three years. He says those losses have a ripple effect in the larger economy.
“However you feel about the industry, it’s been a very important part of the economic engine for our city and our state,” Di Napoli said. “We need to not lose sight of that.”
He says while many of the Wall Street jobs have been replaced with low wage positions, there is also growth in the tech industry which may help to diversify the work force.  
The Comptroller says despite banks being forced to agree to large monetary settlements, and the corresponding  decline in profits , he expects end of year bonuses to be higher than last year.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at