Health care was the dog that did not bark at Governor Cuomo's combined State of State and budget address on Tuesday. Instead of announcing a major plan to expand coverage, he called for appointing a commission to study "options for achieving universal access" and report back by December – a clear sign that he has no stomach for tackling the issue in this session.
The stock market's slump—and the economic uncertainty it reflects—should raise a yellow caution flag over New York State's budget outlook.
New York State's budget outlook for fiscal 2020 is improving, according to the Mid-Year Financial Plan update issued today by Governor Cuomo's Division of the Budget (DOB)
The Mid-Year Update—released 10 days past the Oct. 30 deadline, keeping alive the Governor's perfect record of annual tardiness—pegs the budget gap at $3.070 billion for the fiscal year that starts next April 1. That's down from $4.027 billion as of the end of the first fiscal quarter.
How big are the fiscal challenges faced by New York State in second half of its 2019 fiscal year? Are tax receipts and spending living up with projections? What's the outlook for the next few years?
We don't know—because, for an eighth consecutive year, Governor Andrew Cuomo has missed the statutory deadline for producing a Mid-Year Financial Plan Update.
“It’s beyond any increase we’ve ever seen,” said E. J. McMahon, the founder of the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany think tank that has been critical of state spending and tax policies. “When you put them all together, you’re taking an elevator to the International Space Station.”
As a 19th-century Manhattan politician once observed, “no man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” Some things never change. On balance, New Yorkers would probably be better off if this year’s legislative session ended ahead of its scheduled June 21 adjournment.
"I think the tax cap has induced a sense of complacency," said E.J. McMahon, founder of the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany. "It’s seen as automatically keeping a fairly tight lid on the levy. But at the first sign of fiscal stress and added pressure for higher taxes, I'd expect turnout to rebound."
As the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon notes this week, the latest budget update puts next year’s gap at $4 billion, up by $500 million just since February.