Perhaps at no time in the modern history of New York state has it ever been clearer the daunting challenges awaiting state lawmakers as they gear up for the start of a new legislative session.

Some clues:

State government ended 2009 with a $600 million shortfall in its primary operating fund for the first time in recent history.

The state faces an $8 billion deficit this year.

Looming is an unprecedented $40 billon budget gap over the next three years.

Obviously, New York must start to get its fiscal house in order. Now.

Gov. David Paterson will no doubt make New York’s dire finances the focus of his State of the State speech Wednesday when lawmakers return to Albany to begin the 2010 Legislature. Again, he’ll try to convey the urgency of the situation. And, again, fellow Democrats who control both the Senate and Assembly will likely nod and politely applaud.

But they’re unlikely to take the kind of aggressive action necessary to get New York moving in the right direction unless pushed. With all 212 seats in the Legislature up for re-election in November, citizens must use their considerable ballot box leverage to push for systemic changes.

This page believes those changes must include caps on property taxes and state spending, as well as redesigning government.

Look, too, at the reasonable recommendations unveiled Monday by the fiscally conservative think tank, Empire Center for Public Policy. It offered 30 ideas that could save the state $30 billion over the next three years. They include a wage freeze for teachers and state workers, and deep cuts in Medicaid and school aid spending.

There is no dearth of viable ideas for reform. The problem remains the people who are misrepresenting citizens in Albany. This year must be different

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