The Hochul Administration has finally released an overdue budget report—which, on first look, shows the state’s fiscal outlook virtually unchanged.
The state Budget Division around noon today (a federal holiday, three days after Election Day) released the Mid-Year Financial Plan Update, which was due on October 30.
The update is important because it includes projections of revenue and spending levels beyond the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2023, which show whether the state faces future budget gaps.
The combination of significant spending increases in the past two state budgets, along with recent economic turmoil, made it possible if not likely that the state would face increased budget gaps and need to soon pursue significant spending cuts or tax increases. But the Budget Division appears to have ignored everything that has transpired in the state, national, and global economies in recent months and left its personal income tax receipt forecasts for fiscal 2024 through 2027 unchanged.
That doesn’t seem to align with concerns raised by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in a budget report issued earlier this week, in which DiNapoli warned that PIT collections would drop 7 percent between FY23 and FY24—far more than the Budget Division previously expected.
The Budget Division’s update includes one notable piece of positive news, showing the current year’s personal income tax receipts are coming in about $1.5 billion higher than projected this summer—something which should inform future forecasts, but doesn’t appear to have.
A big question remains unanswered: if there was no major news in the mid-year update, why did the Hochul Administration violate state law and delay it by almost two weeks?