9:47am

Fri November 2, 2012
Hurricane Sandy

Comptroller updates cost of Sandy to NY state at $18 billion

The New York State Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli has done an initial assessment of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the state's coffers by lo0king at a range of factors including the disruption to daily business and loss of property.

"My office's preliminary estimate of economic losses due to storm ranges from $15 billion to $18 billion. ...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."

Specifically, DiNapoli's preliminary review of economic sectors found that:

  • Ongoing disruption of New York's financial sector is expected to be minimal. But because it accounts for about 14 percent of the state's tax collections and about 7 percent of the city's, any negative storm aftershocks could have significant implications.
  • Infrastructure, including highways, airports, seaports, sewer and water systems, was severely impacted and is still undergoing damage assessments. While much of the cost may be covered by insurance or federal assistance, damage would be in the tens of billions. Rapid remediation would reduce damage from the corrosive effects of water, pollutants and other factors.
  • The storm may prevent New York City from breaking last year's records for tourist spending and attendance if the recovery continues into the holiday season. New York City tourism is the city's fifth largest industry.
  • Flooding of sewer and water systems and their overflows will exacerbate cleanup efforts and raise health concerns. Toxicity assessments may be required near contaminated sites such as Newtown Creek and Gowanus Canal. The full extent of environmental hazards is yet to be determined.
  • Mitigating the risks associated with future storms is essential. A 2010 report by the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force projected sea level rise in the state's coastal regions of two to five inches by the 2020s. A coordinated effort is vital to address risks as more powerful storms are being predicted.

Earlier reporting from Chris Caya of WBFO


Just days before the Hurricane struck, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a mid-year analysis showing state tax revenues are not on target and collections would have to grow 6.5 percent the remainder of the year to make up for the lower-than-expected revenue.

DiNapoli says on top of the budget barely holding together, there is going to be a negative impact from the storm. People can't get to work in some areas and the tourism sector will take a hit.  

"This has the potential, if there's a longer term impact, of requiring us to perhaps make some mid-year adjustments," DiNapoli told WBFO News.  

DiNapoli says it is too soon to put a number on the impact because other parts of the economy will see an increase in activity and perhaps increased revenue.

"The sale of home goods -- people replacing appliances or other fixtures that may have been destroyed. Construction -- what we saw in the southern tier of New York after Tropical Storm Irene hit with a significant increase, actually twice the rate of growth in sales tax as other parts of state," DiNapoli said.

The other variables in gauging the storm's financial toll on New York State DiNapoli says will be the pace of the recovery and the amount of support and aid provided by the federal government.  

Cuomo is seeking the maximum federal reimbursement.

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