New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is sending an early warning that the government’s long-term finances rely on one-shot revenue raisers and some temporary tax increases and that some fiscal sleight-of-hand will make state finances look better just in time for the 2014 elections.
Tuesday’s fiscal year report shows the state’s short-term outlook has clearly improved under Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature. But Cuomo has cut budgets already, including $10 billion his first year and billions more since then, which whittled down projected budget deficits through 2015.
Cuomo has eliminated more than $80 billion in budget gaps, administration spokesman Morris Peters said in an emailed statement. The administration’s own financial analysis will be out soon, he said, and it will show the state is on solid footing.
But DiNapoli warned projected $2 billion deficits in coming years could balloon to $6 billion. He referred to one-shot revenue increases such as cash transfers and a $2 billion-a-year increase in income taxes for millionaires. The temporary tax increase has already been extended twice by Cuomo and the Legislature. DiNapoli also said the election year budget will appear better because of some 2014 payments were pre-paid this year.
“There’s no doubt New York is in a better budget position now than it was a short time ago,” DiNapoli said. “Still, without doing more to align recurring spending with recurring revenue, out-year gaps will likely continue. For years the state has used one-shots and temporary fixes to pay the bills.”