Not much more than an hour after the governor’s Budget Division addressed a delay in releasing its mid-year budget report, Senate Democrats released their own figures, pegging next year’s budget deficit at $3 billion.
The Senate’s minority conference also estimates a $249 million budget deficit by the end of the current fiscal year. The Budget Division’s first quarter update in August pegged next year’s deficit at $2.4 billion with no gap for the current year, though Gov. Andrew Cuomo hinted last week that those figures would likely grow.
Through the state’s “quick start” budget reforms passed in 2007, each of the four conferences in the Legislature put out their own estimates in early November. By Nov. 15, they are supposed to come together with the governor’s office to reach a consensus on the figures, though volatility in the markets may force that deadline to be blown.
Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, used the opportunity to revamp his call for an added tax on the state’s top earners. A surcharge on New Yorkers making more than $200,000 a year expires at the end of the year, and both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos have vowed not to renew it.
(Democrats in both the Senate and Assembly are now pushing for a “true” millionaires’ tax; that is, an added tax on those making $1 million and above.)
“We in the Democratic Conference believe New Yorkers have suffered enough pain. We call on our Republican colleagues to join with us in extending the Millionaires’ Tax for those earning a million or more,” Sampson said in a statement. “Now is not the time for massive tax breaks for the wealthy when our state is starved for revenue and communities are hurting.”
Update: Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, emailed this response:
“After the Senate Democrats raised taxes and spending by $14 billion, ran up a $10 billion deficit and left the State on the brink of financial ruin, New Yorkers would be wise to treat this as a political document and not a statement of fact,” Reif wrote. “Like Governor Cuomo, Senate Republicans oppose raising taxes because doing so would hurt New York’s ability to compete, grow our economy and create jobs for workers who need them.”
Here’s a summary of the Senate Democrats’ findings: