Of the $508 million in pork awarded last year, most of it came from the State and Municipal Facilities program, which is widely derided as legislative slush fund, according to an analysis by the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy.
Moving the start of the state fiscal year to July 1 and establishing a Legislative Budget Office are among the recommendations of the Empire Center to improve accountability in the budget process.
A 2017 study by the Empire Center found liability costs in New York exceed $20 billion a year. If those costs were passed on to every household in the state — which really they are, in a way, because all affected organizations and insurers have to pass their costs on to their clients —- it would work out to be $2,700 annually.
“Upstate would need to do a really significant reset of the way government is funded and what it spends, and upstate politicians have not exactly been clamoring for the reforms that it would take to make that happen,” said E.J. McMahon of the Albany-based Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.
The new state budget features a larger-than-usual increase in Medicaid spending and two new coverage mandates for private insurers – adding to the already steep costs of health care for New York's taxpayers and policyholders.
The governor and state Senate would dedicate the revenue for the MTA — but you can bet they’ll count it as their contribution to the agency. (And the Assembly just wants the tax to fund its overall huge boost in statewide spending.) It also means trouble for future MTA budgets, the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon warns, since real estate tax revenues are highly volatile.
New York’s new budget — the actual state-government expenditure plan, that is, as opposed to numerous side issues packaged with it — apparently came in close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bottom line.
With the Legislature getting ready to pass a budget for the fiscal year starting April 1, some fresh data and analysis emerging from the world outside Albany in the past week or so has raised new questions about the durability of the state's revenue base.