Bureau of Public Finance
About NYC Public Finance
New York City sells bonds to fund construction and repair of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and schools. The City borrows to pay for these projects because they will last for many years. Since future taxpayers will share in the benefit of using this infrastructure, it is reasonable that future taxpayers help to pay for the construction. New York City also issues bonds to refinance certain outstanding bonds for interest savings.
The Comptroller and the Mayor share the responsibility for issuing bonds and notes backed by the City’s General Obligation (GO) as well as debt of the NYC Transitional Finance Authority (TFA) and NYC Municipal Water Finance Authority (NYW). Working with the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Comptroller’s Public Finance staff determines and approves structures, terms, and conditions for all City debt. The Comptroller also reviews and approves debt issued by TSASC, Inc., the NYC Housing Development Corporation and the Trust for Cultural Resources and participates in the issuance of NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation (HYIC) bonds, among others.
For residents of New York City, City bonds may be triple-tax exempt. That means that investors who buy tax-exempt bonds do not have to pay federal, New York State or New York City income taxes on the interest they receive.
The City also regularly sells federally taxable bonds, and in 2009 and 2010, as authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the City and its authorities sold taxable Build America Bonds (BABs). Also authorized under the Act are Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), which the City continues to sell. Interest on BABs and QSCBs is not exempt from federal income taxes. Investors should check with their financial advisors or brokers regarding tax status of a bond before making a purchase decision.
New York City does not sell bonds directly to the public. Bonds are sold through registered broker-dealers only. A list of those dealers that sell New York City GO, TFA and NYW bonds at initial offering can be accessed through this link. Bonds may be available at other times from these or other firms.
Before purchasing a New York City bond, prospective purchasers should read the Official Statement for that bond issue, which includes more complete information on the credit and City’s finances. Official Statements for current City bond offerings are available through the broker-dealers who participate in the sale of that bond issue.
Official Statements for most completed offerings are available through the Official Statement Archive, however these documents are provided for historical reference only. Please carefully read the disclaimer that appears before entering the Archive.
New York City’s Debt Limit
The New York State Constitution provides that, with certain exceptions, the City may not contract indebtedness, including contracts for capital projects to be paid with the proceeds of City bonds, in an amount greater than 10% of the average full value of taxable real estate in the City for the most recent five years. Certain TFA debt also counts toward this debt limit. Certain indebtedness, such as Tax Anticipation Notes, Revenue Anticipation Notes and long-term indebtedness issued for certain types of public improvements and capital projects, are considered excluded debt. The City's statutory authority for variable rate debt is limited to 25% of the debt limit.
More detailed information on the City’s borrowing limitations and other debt issuance parameters is included in the City’s Official Statements.