The Empire Center’s policy experts issued the following reactions to the fiscal 2025 budget:

“This year’s budget process was an avoidable trainwreck.

New York is the only state that begins its fiscal year on April 1, earlier than anyone else. This has contributed to Albany’s new, old tradition of missing deadlines then hurriedly voting on bills before lawmakers can fully review them. Moving the fiscal year start would make the budget process more transparent and give lawmakers time to better perform their duty as the state’s board of directors.

As to the budget itself, New York is spending more than ever and it’s more reliant on volatile Wall Street revenue than ever. Total spending will have grown 33 percent in just four years. This is not sustainable.” —Tim Hoefer, President & CEO

MCO TAX: 

The devil is in the lack of details. In their rush to exploit a loophole in federal Medicaid policy, lawmakers have authorized a multibillion-dollar tax on health insurance without saying who will pay how much, or where the revenue will be spent. They’ve authorized the executive branch to make all those decisions unilaterally, which flouts the proper balance of power and invites corruption. 

Proponents of this money-grab have claimed that the MCO tax will merely ‘unlock’ extra federal aid with no impact on New York’s sky-high insurance costs. But they put no such safeguards into law, leaving consumers at risk when the loophole closes and federal aid dries up.” —Bill Hammond, Senior Fellow for Health Policy

SCHOOL AID: 

“The decision to keep filling empty classrooms with state money reflects lawmakers’ commitment to pouring cash instead of scrutiny into a system that’s spending more than any other state’s while finishing behind Kansas, Texas and Kentucky in the most recent federal assessments.” —Ken Girardin, Research Director 

PENSIONS: 

“There is no justifying this giveaway, which will cost over $4 billion. It is a heist from current and future taxpayers that will push property taxes higher and diminish public services. New York public employees already get more generous retirement benefits (on top of collecting social security) than any private-sector group. New York’s 2009 and 2012 pension reforms were necessary because the cost of those benefits were unsustainable.

The public employee unions have said their ultimate goal is to make taxpayers pay for their members to retire with full pensions at age 55 and to limit or end employee retirement contributions, which would cost New York over $100 billion. Taxpayers should be deeply alarmed that their elected officials have taken the first step to surrendering to these demands.” —Ken Girardin, Research Director

Switching to a single “fiscal intermediary” for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program: 

“While this policy change promises modest efficiencies–which would be welcome, if they are actually achieved–it sidesteps the major driver of soaring costs in CDPAP and Medicaid home care generally: overly broad eligibility rules that fail to target services to those who need them the most.

The Legislature has also exempted this enormous contract from normal bidding laws and oversight by the comptroller, a bad practice that opens the door to wasteful decision-making and political favoritism.” —Bill Hammond, Senior Fellow for Health Policy

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