November 2, 2012
DiNapoli Estimates Economic Loss from Sandy Could Top $18 Billion
"These are difficult days for New Yorkers as we work to clean up and recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy," DiNapoli said. "Lives have been lost, homes and property destroyed, and businesses large and small remain paralyzed across New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the greater metropolitan region.
"My office's preliminary estimate of economic losses due to the storm ranges from $15 billion to $18 billion. Our daily infrastructure of highways, power, sewer and water – the elements of modern life that we take for granted – have all been altered by this storm. Though the rebuilding effort may offset some of these losses, we must continue to monitor what the long-term economic impact to New York will be."
The Comptroller is projecting that tax revenue collections for the state, which are already $436 million below initial projections, will be affected in the short term. DiNapoli will issue his early outlook for the upcoming state fiscal year next week.
DiNapoli's estimate of $15 billion to $18 billion is based on initial assessments in relation to previous natural disasters. Economic losses include disruption to daily business and the loss of property and wealth, some of which may not be included in other estimates. Preliminary estimates of the fiscal impact of Hurricane Sandy are speculative, DiNapoli said, as there are many unresolved economic variables, from the duration of power outages to the effects of flooding on infrastructure and the environment.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was facing fiscal strain before the storm. And some local governments hit hard by Sandy, such as the city of Long Beach, were already experiencing severe stress. DiNapoli notes that while federal assistance will cover the full cost of emergency public transportation and power restoration, he supports the push by Governor Cuomo, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the New York delegation for full federal reimbursement for all repair and recovery costs.
To expedite recovery, DiNapoli has notified state agencies that his office is accelerating approval of contracts and payments related to hurricane recovery, as it did last year after Hurricane Irene. DiNapoli will also monitor spending closely to ensure funds are spent appropriately and to assist storm victims.
"The sooner we get contractors on the ground to assist residents and business owners, the faster New York will be back on its feet," DiNapoli said.
Specifically, DiNapoli's preliminary review of economic sectors found that:
The Comptroller has directed his staff to prepare a more comprehensive analysis of the economic impact on the city, state and local governments as more concrete information becomes available.