Joel E. Cohen


Municipal fiscal crises are becoming more frequent, causing the tradition of local control to be questioned. The problems plaguing New York City are but one example of this nation-wide trend. In order to aid the City in overcoming its fiscal crisis, New York State has created two novel agencies, the Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC) and the Emergency Financial Control Board. MAC's major purpose is to aid the city in meeting its financial requirements, while the Control Board's main function is to monitor the City's spending. One accomplishment of these two organizations has been the implementation of drastic austerity measures that have gone far toward remedying the City's fiscal situation. Thus far, both MAC and the Control Board have successfully withstood several court challenges. However, the powers of these agencies raise certain questions concerning the limits of state control over a municipality in a fiscal crisis. Furthermore, there is the additional question of whether the City has the power to implement certain measures ordered by MAC and the Control Board. This Note will examine the legal bases for the creation of these agencies and evaluate the City's ability to comply with their directives.