Lawmakers should freeze the salaries of government workers and slash pork barrel spending to make a dent in New York’s fiscal crisis, a new report says.

The 76-page report from the Empire Center for Public Policy warned that record-shattering budget gaps are in the offing unless the state takes drastic steps to cut spending.

The conservative think-tank’s warning mirrors that of Gov. Paterson, who is expected to devote the bulk of tomorrow’s State of the State address to the money crisis.

“This for the state has all the makings of the most severe fiscal crisis the state has ever seen if … they don’t deal with next year’s gap overwhelmingly with permanent spending reductions,” said E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center.

Among the top recommendations is a call for the Legislature to freeze public sector salaries – including those of teachers and local government workers – for three years. That would save up to $2 billion a year.

The report also recommends a $7.8 billion cut in Medicaid spending over three years, an $8.5billion reduction in school aid over three years and the sale of some state assets, like golf courses and Battery Park City.

McMahon said the Legislature could save $451 million over three years by cutting its budget in half and eliminating unspent member items.

Union leaders criticized McMahon for trying to advance the agenda of wealthy corporate interests at the expense of state workers and school children.

“If we are going to turn the state around, it is going to require an investment in education, not a reduction,” said Richard Iannuzzi, president of the state teachers union.

Aside from addressing the budget crisis, Paterson also is expected to include calls to tighten Albany’s weak ethics laws.

Read article here

You may also like

State’s Growing Budget Hole Threatens NYC Jobs and Aid as Congress Takes a Holiday

“The biggest problem for the state is the enormous, recurring structural budget gap starting next year and into the future,” said E.J. McMahon of the conservative-leaning Empire Center. “Cuomo clearly hopes that starting in 2021, (Democratic presidential candidate Joseph) Biden and a Democratic Congress will provide states and local government a couple of year’s worth of added stimulus. Read More

How Andrew Cuomo became ‘maybe the most powerful governor’ in U.S.

Ed McKinley ALBANY — When the New York Constitution was reorganized nearly 100 years ago to give the governor more power over the budget process,  noted there was a risk of making “the governor a czar." M Read More

Study disputes Cuomo on Trump tax package; experts say it’s complicated

Michael Gormley ALBANY — A new study by a conservative think tank says President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law gave most New Yorkers a tax cut, even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insists on repealing the measure because he says it will cost New Yo Read More

Empire Center sues Department of Health over nursing home records

Johan Sheridan ALBANY, N.Y. () — The Empire Center filed a  against the state Department of Health on Friday. “This case isn’t about assigning blame or embarrassing political leaders,” said Bill Hammond, the Empire Center’s Read More

Good news: That New York pork isn’t going out the door after all

The Empire Center first reported Tuesday that grants — 226 of them, totaling $46 million, to recipients selected by the governor and individual state lawmakers — seemed to still be going ahead. Read More

New York Lawmakers Seek Independent Probe of Nursing-Home Coronavirus Deaths

With lingering questions about how the novel coronavirus killed thousands of New Yorkers who lived in nursing homes, a group of state lawmakers is pushing to create an independent commission to get answers from the state Department of Health. Read More

Policy analyst: Cuomo wrong to write-off nursing home criticism as political conspiracy

“The importance of discussing this and getting the true facts out is to understand what did and didn’t happen so we can learn from it in case this happens again,” Hammond said. Read More

EDITORIAL: Nursing home report requires a second opinion

No doubt, the Health Department and the governor would like this report to be the final word on the subject. But if it’s all the same with them, we’d still like a truly independent review. Read More