New York has an opportunity to save $30 billion over the next three years without tax increases or layoffs, according to a strategy proposed Jan. 4 by the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank.
New York was running an estimated $3.2 billon deficit in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, and authors of the report, Blueprint for a Better Budget, suggest Gov. David A. Paterson formally declare a financial emergency. They also suggest a three-year salary freeze for public employees, $7.8 billion in Medicaid cuts, and privatization of some publicly owned facilities such as ski resorts, golf courses, and Off-Track Betting corporations.
The report also recommends methods for realizing savings in the budget in such areas as state school aid, public university tuitions and spending by the Legislature.
Though some suggestions included in the report already face opposition from public employee unions, they come with the authors’ assurance that no jobs would be cut and no taxes would be raised. In order to avoid job cuts, the salaries of government workers would have to be stagnant for three years. Doing so, the report’s authors argue, would save not only jobs but $1.6 billion for the state in the first year…