Susan Arbetter

In order to address the $6.1 billion dollar budget gap that my colleague Nick Reisman wrote about here, Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t need to wait for the Legislature.

He doesn’t even need to wait until January.

“This governor has more authority under law now to control spending in a variety of ways, than any of his predecessors,” according to E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for State Policy. “He can unilaterally reduce payments to hospitals. He can impound aid in all forms.”

It’s something David Friedfel of the Citizens Budget Commission refers to as “super powers.”

“The Department of Health and the Division of the Budget have something called ‘super powers’ when it comes to Medicaid spending. They have the ability to cut reimbursement rates and make some other cuts without going to the Legislature.

While they didn’t use their super powers last year, it doesn’t mean they won’t. The Empire Center’s McMahon thinks DoB and DOH may act.

“To some extent, they’re going to have to,” he told Spectrum News.

“They’ve kind of hinted at it, more than strongly, in this financial plan update. But even at this late point in the fiscal year with barely one quarter left in the fiscal year, they haven’t disclosed what exactly they’re going to do.”

© 2019 Spectrum

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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