New York City Debt Outstanding

Sep 13, 2011
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

At the end of fiscal year 2011, New York City reached a milestone: the amount of debt outstanding passed $100 billion. As total debt outstanding has grown - by 83 percent since 2002 - the forms of debt the City issues have also diversified. This growth affects the city budget in the form of higher debt service costs, which are projected to be 10 percent of the city’s expense budget by 2015.  Explore what makes up this $100 billion debt number in our new interactive graphic.



  • GO— General Obligation debt is backed by the full faith and credit of the City of New York. It is used to fund the bulk of the City’s capital projects and is backed by city tax dollars. See
  • TFA– The New York City Transitional Finance Authority was created in 1999 to finance a portion of the capital plan. TFA debt is backed by the personal income tax and has an even better rating than GO debt.
  • TFA BARBs– TFA Building Aid Revenue Bonds are used to finance school construction and are backed by State building aid.
  • MWFA– The Municipal Water Finance Authority was created in 1985 to fund sewer and water capital construction projects. It is backed by dedicated water and sewer fees.
  • HYIC– Hudson Yards Infrastructure Development Corporation bonds are used to fund the extension of the 7 line and other development within the “Hudson Yards Financing District.”
  • MAC/STARC– The Municipal Assistance Corporation was created during the 1970s fiscal crisis as an alternative debt vehicle to the City’s GO bonds.  In 2005, the remaining debt was refinanced with debt issued by the Sales Tax Asset Receivable Corporation. Debt service on STARC bonds is paid by the State.
  • TSASC— The Tobacco Settlement Asset Securitization Corporation securitized revenues from a 1998 settlement with the cigarette industry. 
  • ECF– The New York City Educational Construction Fund issues bonds to finance construction and renovation of schools, often in combined occupancy arrangements.
  • Conduit Debt– This includes older debt issued by a state authority for hospitals and courts and debt issued by New York City Industrial Development Corporation for private and non-profit agencies with goal of fostering economic benefits.


By Connor Mealey

Sign up for our E-Alerts
Select multiple topics
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.