DiNapoli: On-time budgets are great, but …

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Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Friday released his early reaction to New York’s new $135 billion budget, passed late last night by the state Assembly.

And while he patted Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature for getting it done on time for the third year in a row and increasing the minimum wage, DiNapoli made clear he has some concerns.

Specifically, DiNapoli, a Democrat, raises a red flag regarding the state’s reliance on debt through its public authorities as it rapidly approaches its debt cap.

From DiNapoli’s statement:

“This budget does rely on significant non-recurring actions now and in the future. It also includes several new provisions that extend the state’s reliance on public authority debt to meet the state’s spending needs. New York’s debt burden is among the highest in the nation, making the goals of meeting critical infrastructure needs while remaining within the state’s debt caps more difficult.”

Cuomo, also a Democrat, touted the merits of the budget plan in a 5 1/2-minute video released early Friday.

As noted, DiNapoli had good things to say about the budget’s timeliness.

“This reflects an improved, more efficient process between the Governor and the Legislature,” DiNapoli said. “Its passage demonstrates a willingness to address issues of keen importance to New Yorkers, including the minimum wage and education and health care funding.”

DiNapoli said his office has launched an extensive review of the budget and will release a report soon. His full statement is after the jump.

“New York faces an ongoing challenge maintaining budget balance amid slow economic growth and tax revenue that persistently lags projections. The year ahead won’t be an easy road.

“This budget does rely on significant non-recurring actions now and in the future. It also includes several new provisions that extend the state’s reliance on public authority debt to meet the state’s spending needs. New York’s debt burden is among the highest in the nation, making the goals of meeting critical infrastructure needs while remaining within the state’s debt caps more difficult.

“An agreement was reached on a program that gives local governments another option to contend with the recent spikes in pension costs. Building off the existing program, this new option will give local governments additional flexibility in budgeting and paying for pension costs without undermining the health of the pension fund.

“Necessary steps were taken to address some of the problems my auditors found with the STAR program which should help eliminate abuse and errors. Unfortunately, not enough was done to increase oversight of the $2 billion special education program after a probe by my office uncovered widespread misuse of taxpayer monies by special education providers. This program remains ripe for continued abuse.

“Several provisions of this budget will have fiscal implications that will be felt well into the future. An honest and accurate accounting of the costs associated with the actions taken, along with realistic projections for revenue, is essential. My office has begun its detailed analysis of the 2013-14 Enacted Budget and will release its report soon.”

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2 Comments

  1. 1. No criticism of the $350 million a year giveaway as tax rebates for having children?

    2. And, because the Gov and Legislature wised up and recast the pension smoothing destruction of the pension funds as building on “his” pension borrowing plan (which btw seems identical to what he is complaining about borrowing funds for other operational purposes), now he touts it as providing “flexibility”. Please explain how it is NOT reducing their current obligations significantly on the promise that they will overpay in the future? I fail to see how he, as the sole protector of the pension fund, isn’t adamantly opposed to such fiscal gimmickery for locals?

  2. Money Earnin on

    When is dinapoli going to show some ‘concern’ for the mess that is mt vernon? follow the money trail from davis to the county to the state. pay a visit to ms walker and and find out the real reasons she won’t go tech.

    when is cuomo going to show some? or say ANYTHING?! or Williams? klein? pretlow? thompson? Engel? Schumer? Gillibrand? Anyone? Hello? Are you there?!