New York’s state budget is on course for disaster

Editorial Board

New York Post

Jul 2, 2018

New York state’s budget is headed for disaster, a new report by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warns — maybe not tomorrow, but within a few short years.

Current plans, he says, have Albany spending $18 billion more than it’ll take in through 2022. The state hasn’t seen such a gap since 2011, when it was still recovering from the Great Recession.

And the holes are growing, the report notes, creating a “structural imbalance” in the state’s financial plan. It’ll get worse faster if the feds trim aid or the economy slows.

Meanwhile, the state government’s piggy bank is shrinking — down to just $2.9 billion, by 2022. That’s because Albany plans to tap nearly half of last year’s $9.4 billion balance to meet this year’s obligations — and because it hasn’t made any deposits since 2015.

Plus, state leaders plan to keep borrowing billions for construction projects, leaving New York legally able to issue just $49 million in IOUs by 2021.

Yes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has bragged about keeping spending growth to 2 percent a year, but he’s done so in good part by shifting expenses off-budget. Actual growth in outlays, the report notes, is closer to 5 percent, more than double inflation.

DiNapoli flags government’s “tendency to focus on the short term,” cautioning that “taxpayers and those who depend on public services” may suffer without a “strong financial foundation for the long term.”