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.”
For Cuomo, the shortest term is November, when he’s up for re-election. Then he’ll have to pray that the wheels don’t come off before his 2020 White House run.
His only real plan is to leave the mess for some future governor to clean up.
By [Post Editorial Board]