Common Sense: The State of the State
Governor Cuomo’s combined State of the State/budget message was a real loser for New York City residents and, in the long term, a bad budget for all New Yorkers. The reason is simple. It is overflowing with new burdens on New York City taxpayers, gimmickry and enormous amounts of new debt to cover its $140 billon bottom line.
The governor, who makes no bones about his dislike for Mayor de Blasio, is moving to transfer $800 million in Medicaid and CUNY expenses off the state ledger and onto the city’s. That will eat heavily into city reserves which are necessary for getting through the inevitable downturn that comes about when real estate bubbles burst or Wall Street has a bad year.
The governor also appears to be duplicating a gimmick that was used by his father and eventually paid a role in his defeat for re-election in 1994. It involves using state authorities — which are government entities but generally exempt from certain statutory limitations — to pick up some state costs and debt. We all pay in the long run since the authorities need to find the revenue to cover their increased debt service and new activities.
In fact, this budget seems really to be balanced on increased debt. The state has a debt cap, but the governor, as has happened in the past, apparently in this budget will use these authorities that are exempt from the cap as a funnel to pay for his expensive state spending plan.