Thanks to state budget gridlock in Albany, New York City homeowners will have to wait at least a little longer for Mayor Bloomberg's $400 property tax rebate.
Seeking to divert attention from their failure to adopt a budget on time for the 20th consecutive year, state legislative leaders have unveiled a budget reform package that will do little to fix New York's dysfunctional budget process. In many respects, it could actually make things much worse.
New York state legislative leaders reportedly are still optimistic that they can produce an on-time budget for the first time in two decades. This, says state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, "would be a tremendous achievement."
Faced with a $6 billion budget gap, New York state desperately needs to stretch taxpayer dollars and do more with less. One of the prime solutions can be summed up in a single word all too rarely found in Albany's bureaucratic lexicon: competition.
Under cover of the summer doldrums, Mayor Bloomberg's budget staff is feverishly putting the finishing touches on one of the biggest bonding boondoggles in New York State's history.
After a winter and spring filled with budgetary "doomsday" talk in City Hall, New York's latest fiscal crisis has been interrupted by an eerie, eye-of-the-storm calm. In the space of two months, Mayor Bloomberg's demands for union concessions and program cuts gave way to unilateral budget restorations and celebratory photo ops with City Council leaders.
Despite a continuing economic slump and the most serious municipal fiscal crisis in a quarter-century, the New York City budget is growing at nearly twice the inflation rate.
By any standard, the revenue bill passed by the state Legislature last week was a real blockbuster - raising taxes on a scale that would dwarf anything enacted during the rolling fiscal crisis that punctuated Gov. Mario Cuomo's tenure.