Comptroller sees pros and cons of newly passed state budget

Mar 29, 2013

New York's Comptroller says the passage of the state's third on-time budget shows "an improved, more efficient process between the governor and the legislature." But the state official who deals with the numbers has a few concerns about the $141.3 billion dollar spending plan.

There are a few parts to the recently approved New York state budget that nag at State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  For one thing, he says there are some risks on the revenue side of the ledger, noting the most recent revenue numbers have fallen short of earlier government budget estimates.

"That's been the trend. We have revenue assumptions that are more realistic than they used to be, but still fall short.  It does come back to the need for this economy picks up. And until that happens, we're going to have continued stress on budgets at every level."

DiNapoli says he's also concerned the state won't be ready for an estimated hit of $400 million lost through federal budget sequestration cuts.

"There's not any consideration taken for what could happen if federal sequestration comes into full impact, and we're going to be short on those federal dollars, so there's no backstop to help with that," said DiNapoli. "I think everybody's waiting to see what really happens with the federal government.  Nobody really knows where those cuts are really going to impact, so there's a lot of waiting to see what the final decisions are in Washington."

On the positive side, DiNapoli is happy that the budget was approved on-time for the third year in a row.  He says that creates stability, and makes it easier for local governments and school districts to plan ahead.