In a letter to state agencies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director tells state agencies to estimate zero growth in their budget proposals.
The order yesterday from Budget Director Robert Megna comes as the state will be dealing with less than a $1 billion deficit in the 2013-14 fiscal year, which starts April 1. The state’s gap is manageable compared to previous years, when budget gaps were more than $10 billion.
“As we begin the important work of developing the 2013-14 Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo remains committed to holding the line on state spending while maintaining his pledge to increase support for schools and health care in a sustainable manner,” Megna wrote.
The memo also indicates that there won’t be an increase for the next two years in state aid to localities, which has stayed flat in recent years despite the implementation of a property-tax cap last year. School aid and Medicaid costs are expected to again grow by about 4 percent next year.
“Accordingly, your 2013-14 budget request for State Operations and Aid to Localities (excluding School Aid and Medicaid, which are subject to different growth caps) must assume zero growth from your 2012-13 cash ceiling for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years for both General Fund and State Operating funds spending,” the memo continues.
“In other words, 2013-14 budget requests cannot achieve zero growth through fiscal gimmicks or one-time actions. Funding requests for new initiatives must be offset by corresponding reductions elsewhere in your budget. Maximization of your agency’s use of Enterprise Shared Services will assist in achieving this objective.”
The budget requests are due by Oct. 16. Cuomo will propose his 2013-14 budget in mid-January.
Call Letter 1314
We must approach next year’s Budget as we have the past two years: as a means of achieving the Governor’s vision of making government work better for the people of this State. Agencies must work together across functional areas and adopt smarter, more efficient practices to achieve their core missions.