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State comptroller: NY debt tops $63B

ALBANY — The state government’s debt has topped $63.3 billion, with New York on track to approach its borrowing limit in early 2014, the comptroller’s office reported Monday.

That debt burden, averaging $3,253 per resident, is almost three times the national median, according to the report. New York’s state-funded debt is second only to California’s $96.4 billion and 80 percent higher than New Jersey, which is third.

New York paid $6.8 billion on its loans in 2011-2012, though borrowing has continued to outpace payoffs. The $63.3 billion debt as of last March 31 was $1.6 billion higher than a year earlier.

“At this point, 95 percent of the borrowing over the past 10 years has been without voter approval,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. Most came from public authorities, avoiding the general prohibition in the state constitution against issuing debt without the approval of voters and the Legislature.

Those entities created by the state Legislature, like the Thruway Authority, develop and maintain infrastructure like roads, bridges and schools.