Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 18, 2012

Report: 'Dire' future for state government

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The task force cites several continuing one-shots threatening fiscal stability that total $4.5 billion in the current state budget. They include the temporary millionaires' tax, deferment of business tax credits and borrowing to make public pension payments.

But Cuomo sees a fiscal turnaround.

"Gov. Cuomo has been successful in unraveling many of the budget gimmicks made by previous administrations," said his budget spokesman Morris Peters.

"Since Gov. Cuomo took office, out-year deficits have been reduced by a cumulative $77 billion, and this year New York made its first deposit to the rainy day reserves since the start of the fiscal crisis," Peter said. "Spending growth has been limited to 2 percent or less for the second year in a row, and there have been no new taxes or fees or gimmicks like borrowing to pay for operating expenses."

The task force notes improvements.

"Albany has made an effort to impose new fiscal discipline ... but it is too early to know how effective these changes will be and what their impact may be on services."

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, auditor of of state and local governments, called the report "a vital document."

"The issues presented in this report touch every single one of us. How we address these challenges will define the path forward for our great state," DiNapoli said.

The report also stated:

• The state has long neglected critical infrastructure needs, a problem exacerbated by the billions of dollars of damage from Superstorm Sandy. It warns Cuomo's planned Tappan Zee Bridge replacement compounds that, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's revenues and rebuilding program won't meet its future needs.

• The state imposes mandated costs on local governments and schools including Medicaid, employee benefits, while capping the growth of local property taxes.

• New York City's future budgets are at risk from "the sluggish economy, weak revenues, and unrelenting mandated expenses" imposed by state and federal governments.

mug - Cuomo, Andrew Andrew Cuomo Sees brighter outlook

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