When Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers approved New York’s latest budget, they pushed spending to its highest level in history.

New data about the state’s financial picture show they didn’t think enough about the future.

A new budget projection shows the state expects expenses to outpace revenues by $9 billion beginning next April.

That gap will swell to $13 billion the year after.

To put those numbers in context, New York’s budget this year (excluding federal aid and borrowing) is $125 billion — about $23 billion more than it was before the pandemic (notwithstanding some Albany accounting gimmicks).

Hochul and state lawmakers appear to have been emboldened by last year’s unexpectedly high tax receipts, which gave rise to assumptions that future receipts would remain strong.

Those forecasts, however, have been pared significantly in recent weeks, after state tax receipts for April came in far below expectations.

Albany doesn’t have many good options on the revenue front.

Lawmakers hiked both personal income and corporate taxes in 2021, and undoubtedly risk greater outmigration of businesses and high earners if rates rise further.

Instead, lawmakers need to re-evaluate the spending choices — or lack of choices — that led them to abandon whatever restraint they had shown in the last decade.

And they should start with two sacred cows:

Legislators’ top focus should be on New York’s costliest-in-the-nation public schools, which spent over $26,000 per pupil during the 2020-21 school year, or 85% more than the national average.

Albany’s aid for school districts exploded from $19 billion in 2011-12 to $34 billion set to go out next year.

Continue reading on NYPost.com. If you’re interested in more discussion on government spending in New York, subscribe to the Messages of Necessity podcast.

About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

You may also like

Putting Hochul to the test: Will the governor use her budget powers to protect New York’s fiscal future?

“We will not be raising income taxes this year,” Gov. Hochul declared in January at the opening of New York’s 2023 legislative session. Read More

Why does the MTA bleed money?

Rep. Josh Gottheimer ruffled feathers when he called for Congress to investigate the spending practices of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, operating New York’s mass transit. Read More

What Gov. Hochul must do to prevent a coming fiscal crash

The pandemic and its fiscal aftermath have given rise — temporarily — to a state budget trend unique in New York’s history. Read More

NYC’s finances look flush — but Eric Adams’ budget carries many real risks

A few months into its third fiscal year since the pandemic’s start, New York City’s finances have never looked so flush — and so precarious. Read More

Kathy Hochul’s call for 5.4M Republicans to leave New York is dangerous and disgusting

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who hasn’t proven shy about issuing orders, had one for the state’s Republicans this week Read More

Hochul’s first budget rewards unions at taxpayers’ expense — and sets the state on the road to insolvency

New Yorkers are aghast that the Buffalo Bills stadium deal, which will fill the pockets of a wealthy NFL team owner with their tax dollars, is in the state budget the Legislature just adopted. Read More

Kathy Hochul will have to prove she can hold the line on state spending

Hochul’s specific priorities were lowest-common-denominator stuff: “combating” the spread of COVID-19 linked to the Delta variant, pushing billions in stalled federal rent relief out the door to tenants (and ultimately their landlords) and “beginning to change the culture in Albany.” Read More

Calling Tax Cut “Theft,” Cuomo Continues to Push For Federal Bucks With Phony Math

The results of this week’s Georgia Senate runoffs, assuring Democrats will soon control both houses of Congress, as well as the White House, had to come as a huge relief to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Read More