Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 13, 2013

Comptroller questions Cuomo budget proposal

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — For residents, the risk of a budget that might not cover the fiscal year's expenses is clear. In December 2011, Cuomo and the Legislature convened a special session to raise income taxes to provide $1.9 billion more to the state budget by targeting millionaires, which continues to help cover spending.

Megna, Cuomo's budget director, noted the budget keeps the increase in spending to under 2 percent while holding the line on borrowing and keeping it just under the state's borrowing limit.

But DiNapoli said Cuomo relies heavily on borrowing through state authorities, which avoids the need to get taxpayers' approval in a more transparent manner and isn't included when calculating the state's debt limit. New York's total debt is second only to California's among the states.

Megna insisted the state has borrowed through its public authorities such as the Dormitory and Thruway authorities for decades, but DiNapoli said there is usually a mix of this backdoor borrowing and more transparent borrowing that requires voter approval.

DiNapoli also said there could be a $1.1 billion hole in the budget that could bust the plan later in the fiscal year. That's the amount of funds the federal government is seeking from New York after years of excessive reimbursement to the state for its Medicaid health care program for the poor.

Megna said the budgets lists that as a possibility and negotiations with President Barack Obama's administration continue.

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