capital-1-pic-copy-150x150-1108330Governor Cuomo has maintained his perfect record of consistently ignoring the statutory deadline for issuing a mid-year update to New York State’s financial plan.

Here’s what’s required by state Finance Law, Section 23.4:

Quarterly, throughout the fiscal year, the governor shall submit to the comptroller, the chairs of the senate finance and the assembly ways and means committees, within thirty days of the close of the quarter to which it shall pertain, a report which summarizes the actual experience to date and projections for the remaining quarters of the current fiscal year and for each of the next two fiscal years of receipts, disbursements, tax refunds, and repayments of advances presented in forms suitable for comparison with [previous required financial plans and quarterly updates]. [Emphasis added.]

The mid-year update is due every year within 30 days of the Sept. 30 close of the state’s second fiscal quarter—or, fittingly enough, the eve of Halloween, Oct. 31.

For a ninth straight year, Cuomo has failed to issue the report on time. And for a ninth straight year, the Legislature doesn’t seem to care, either.

In previous years, the mid-year update has provided early warnings of revenue trends that might point to budget shortfalls ahead. This year, with cash reports indicating that tax receipts have been coming in slightly ahead of the previous plan projection, the revenue side is of less concern.

The big unanswered question now, fully seven months into fiscal 2020, is what (if anything) the governor will reveal about his plans for dealing with what’s shaping up as a current operating deficit caused by his rollover of Medicaid spending from FY 2019 into FY 2020.

As Bill Hammond noted in this space two weeks ago, the comptroller’s monthly cash reports show Cuomo burned through 61 percent of the state-funded Medicaid budget during the first six months of the fiscal year. And that points to a potentially very big problem:

In recent years, Medicaid spending through September has consistently turned out to be about 54 percent of the annual total, regardless of what the original financial plans projected. If that pattern holds true, Medicaid would end the fiscal year on March 30 at $24.3 billion, or $2.9 billion over budget.

The looming deficit originated with Cuomo’s furtive rollover of $1.7 billion in state-funded Medicaid from March into April, which maintained the illusion that Medicaid spending for FY 2019 had stayed under his “global” Medicaid cap. Cuomo’s last quarterly financial plan update—also issued behind schedule, in August—warned the administration was developing a plan to reduce Medicaid spending that could include “across-the-board rate reductions to health care providers and plans.”

Speaking of deadlines

Going back to the early 1990s, governors Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson generally issued their mid-year reports on schedule or within a day or two of the Oct. 30 deadline. The current Governor Cuomo’s earliest mid-year update was issued on Nov. 6, 2015.

Cuomo set an all-time record for lateness his second year in office, 2012, when the mid-year report for fiscal 2013 appeared on Nov. 29, closer to Christmas than Halloween. Last year’s mid-year report, issued Nov. 9, said the financial outlook was improving—although, even then, the state comptroller was warning (presciently, as it turns doubt) that tax revenues were eroding.

Under another section of state Finance Law—Section 23.5, the so-called ‘Quick Start” budget process reform of 2007— Nov. 5  is the deadline by which “appropriate personnel” for the governor, comptroller and legislative leaders are required to “separately prepare and make available reports on estimated state receipts and state disbursements for the current and ensuing fiscal years.”

If the past is any guide, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will issue his report on schedule sometime today*—while the legislative fiscal offices will join the governor in ignoring this deadline, too.

PS — The comptroller’s report was issued late this morning.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

Remembering the scandal that brought down Health Commissioner Howard Zucker

The resignation of Dr. Howard Zucker as state health commissioner marks the end of a term marred by scandal over his role in managing the coronavirus pandemic. The much-debated compelling nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients, though it origi Read More

After 10 weeks, all but five of the Empire Center’s 63 requests for pandemic data remain unfulfilled

Over the 10 days that Hochul has been in office, there has been no further progress on the Empire Center's record requests. Read More

New York’s health benefits remain the second-costliest in the U.S.

New York's health benefit costs increased faster than the national average in 2020, leaving it with the second-least affordable coverage in the U.S. The state's average total cost f Read More

Another Hochul To-Do: Timely Financial Reporting

The state will spend a record $212 billion in the current 2022 Fiscal Year, under the budget its elected leaders adopted in April. Read More

Can Cuomo still be impeached?

Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump have more in common than boyhood homes in Queens. Like Trump, Cuomo could still face impeachment and an impeachment trial despite a promise to resign as Governor later this month. Read More

The Gov’s pension

There are several (dozens? hundreds?) of unanswered questions as the fallout from Andrew Cuomo's resignation earlier today continues. Among those are questions related to his pension, some of which can be answered, sort of. Read More

The Health Department’s FOIL Responses Signal an Indefinite Wait for Pandemic Data

The quest for comprehensive data on New York's coronavirus pandemic hit a bureaucratic roadblock this week Read More

A Study of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes Raises Doubt About New York’s Minimum Staffing Law

A newly published study of COVID-19 in nursing homes links larger numbers of employees to higher rates of infection and death for residents – raising fresh doubts about New York's recently enacted "safe staffing" law. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

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.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!