Parsing NY’s 2020 State Budget

Empire Center Research, Commentary and Analysis


New York’s annual state budget process began with the Jan. 16 release of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins April 1.

In reverse chronological order, the Empire Center’s state budget research, commentary and analysis includes:

SOTS health-care roundup
Bill Hammond
NYTorch, Jan. 18
Health care was the dog that did not bark at Governor Cuomo’s combined State of State and budget address.



Squeezing NY’s golden geese 
E.J. McMahon
New York Post, Jan. 18
Cuomo wants to perpetuate the state’s lopsided reliance on high-income taxpayers, compounding financial risks for the future.


Cuomo’s budget: a fiscal first take
E.J. McMahon
NYTorch, Jan. 16
Disentangled from the politically turbocharged, high-volume rhetoric of his State of the State message, the first Executive Budget of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s third term is largely a stay-the-course affair—for better and worse.


Budget would renew big mandate
Ken Girardin
NYTorch, Jan. 16
One of New York’s most costly unfunded mandates—compulsory binding arbitration of police and fire contract disputes—would be renewed for an extra-long period under one of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget bills.


Same old Senate GOP
E.J. McMahon
NYTorch, Jan. 15
Getting the jump on Governor Andrew’s Cuomo’s budget presentation, the much-diminished state Senate Republican conference today issued a counter-budget plan—which doesn’t even begin to add up.


The budget process

The Executive Budget presentation marks the beginning of a process, shaped by Article VII of the State Constitution, under which:

  • The governor’s proposed bill are immediately, automatically introduced as submitted in both the state Assembly and the state Senate.
  • The Legislature cannot change any of the language in the governor’s budget bills, and can add spending only in the form of separate line items subject to the governor’s veto.
  • The Legislature also has the ability to “strike out or reduce” any proposed Executive Budget appropriations, in which case the governor has no recourse but to negotiate with the Legislature to seek restorations.
  • Line-item vetoes aside, the appropriation bills become law when passed without any further action or “signing” by the governor.
  • So-called”Article VII bills”—the governor’s proposed changes state law submitted as part of the budget package but separate from appropriations, including any revenue bills—are treated as normal legislation, subject to amendment or wholesale rewriting.

The state fiscal year runs from March 31 to April 1. There is no hard-and-fast legal “deadline” for passage of the budget—except insofar as appropriations authority is needed to continue funding state government’s payroll and activities after the new year begins.

Since the Legislature cannot introduce any appropriations bills without first taking final action on the governor’s Executive Budget, any interim spending bills must originate with the governor—a power last used to great effect in 2010 by then-Governor David Paterson in resisting attempts by the Legislature to add more spending than he was willing to tolerate.