It’s Alive | NY Torch

With little advance notice or fanfare, a constitutional amendment (S.1) that would give the Legislature much more power to shape the state budget was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee today. The Assembly version (A.2) was approved back in February, so the measure is now a big step closer to a statewide voter referendum. [Read_more]

“Excelsior” or Bust? by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State spending has increased faster during the four fiscal years since the latest economic downturn began in 2001 than during a comparable recession and recovery period in the early 1990s. [Read_more]

Spending Still Rising In State Budget by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

State funds spending would rise at twice the inflation rate under Governor Pataki's proposed 2005-06 Executive Budget. And despite much-ballyhooed "cuts," state-funded Medicaid costs next year would increase nearly 13 percent. [Read_more]

City Spending Accelerates by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

City-funded spending would increase almost 10 percent under New York's newly adopted budget for fiscal 2005. The budget's financing structure, which relies heavily on prior-year surplus and one-shot revenues, sets the stage for a looming shortfall in fiscal 2006. [Read_more]

The Cloud Behind the Silver Lining by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The projected "out-year" gap in Mayor Bloomberg's proposed 2005 budget is the largest on record, leaving New York's finances extremely vulnerable to external shocks in the year ahead. City spending is now growing at an unsustainable pace; as a result, barring another boom on the late 1990s scale, Bloomberg could feel increasingly pressed to reduce spending as he approaches the next mayoral election. [Read_more]

NY State Government: Growing Beyond Its Means by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State spending has outpaced inflation even as tax receipts plummeted since 2001. The state budget is on track to continue growing at twice the inflation rate over next several years—resulting in large projected future budget gaps, and raising the specter of expanded tax hikes." [Read_more]

CSEA Contract Will Cost Taxpayers Plenty by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

A tentative contract agreement between Governor George Pataki and New York’s largest union of state government workers would permanently add billions of dollars to New York State and New York City budgets, if it is ratified by union membership and ends up setting a pattern for the state’s other collective bargaining units. [Read_more]

The High Cost of Educational “Adequacy” by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

New York State needs to spend $7 billion more to finance a “sound, basic education” for all pupils, according to the group that successfully sued to overturn the state’s education finance system. What kind of tax hike would it take to pay for such a draconian solution? This memo explores the range of possible answers to that question. [Read_more]

New York’s Ugly Stealth Tax Hikes by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Many New Yorkers who may consider themselves middle class will be paying higher effective marginal rates than billionaires under the "temporary" state and city income tax hikes recently approved by the State Legislature. [Read_more]