It seems increasingly clear that New York’s state tax collections will fall below target for the fiscal year ending next March 31. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today issued a monthly cash report showing that tax collections in November were $163 million below the target set less than a month ago in the mid-year financial plan forecast, which was made public almost a month behind schedule.

Through the first eight months of the fiscal year, general fund receipts are $381 million below projections, DiNapoli noted. The situation would look worse at this point if the state’s general fund spending was not also below projections by about $303 million.

So, is the spending dip due to what might euphemistically be called “cash management” by the Cuomo administration (i.e., slowing down payment of some bills) or to some underlying change in the drivers of local aid spending — Medicaid enrollment and school operating costs?  Based on the cash report, it’s hard to say. While the further dip in receipts might be due to the economic impact of Superstorm Sandy, it’s a bit surprising to see no apparent impact of the storm on the spending side of the equation.

The next official update of the financial plan will come with the presentation of the Executive Budget in mid-January. In the meantime, by minimizing disclosure of new financial data, Governor Cuomo is also ensuring that little attention will be paid to the issue until he is ready to spin explain things as part of his budget presentation.

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About the Author

E.J. McMahon

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

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