BUFFALO, NY- New York State may be facing a budget deficit, which is twice as large as the up to $4 billion estimate by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Division of the Budget (DOB). That is according to the New York State Comptroller’s Office.
The Comptroller reports the shortfall, which would be the largest facing the state since Cuomo took office, is concentrated in the category of personal income tax receipts which it forecasts will be dramatically lower than projected.
“We are in such a quandary because we don't know what's happening in Washington," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.
According to Hochul, any solid projections of the actual deficit faced by the state would therefore be premature.
“A lot of our revenues are based on stability that comes out of Washington. Do we know that our projects are going to be funded? Will there be money for infrastructure, or for our health care programs? So we are calculating the worst case scenarios right now because we don't know what Washington is going to do,” Hochul said.
“We clearly have a budget problem," said New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (R-60th District), who stated further that the state lacks the means to even assess it properly.
“What really has shocked me since I have been in Albany is the lack of an independent agency that scores legislation and attempts to provide honest budgeting, such as the Congressional Budget Office in Washington. We don’t have that in New York State,” Jacobs said.
Whatever the deficit may actually be, it will have to be dealt with through a budge that will be proposed by the governor in a few months and eventually enacted by the state legislature.
“I would be reticent to raise taxes,” said Jacobs. “That would be the last thing because we already have the highest taxes in the union. Maybe we could postpone some big projects the governor has on tap, if they are things that are not dealing with the life, health, and safety of our residents."
“We will address any shortfall,” assured Hochul. “But right now the numbers are too premature, the year is not competed and we're not into the budget session yet.”