New York Daily News

Spending beyond our means


Much of the focus in these pages and elsewhere on the New York State budget that is due to be adopted by Saturday (and may well miss the deadline) are on the policy proposals of Gov. Hochul on public safety, housing, education, transit and health, as well as the counterpla­ns of the state Senate and Assembly. But the budget is about dollars and as the Citizens Budget Commission makes clear in a sobering new analysis being published today, all parties are spending too much, too fast and digging a deep hole.

And we all know the first, and only, rule of holes: when it’s too deep, stop digging.

Not to invoke inebriated mariners, but the free spending of the taxpayers’ money is pushing the state’s structural budget deficit to $15 billion if Hochul were to have her way and $20 billion if the Legislatur­e’s path was followed.

State government expenditur­es have risen rapidly in the three years since COVID began, along with correspond­ing billions in generous aid from Congress. But the high-spending ways that started with the public health emergency and economic shutdowns are continuing, while the federal cash is drying up. Having more go out with less coming in doesn’t balance.

Instead of a reasonable growth rate of 2%, roughly the annual increase for the decade before COVID, Hochul is seeking 3.6% more this year and then 4.3% increases in the out years going forward. The Legislatur­e’s numbers are even worse, adding billions more to the deficit. Albany is setting up 20 million New Yorkers for harsh cutbacks in services that will happen if the bills can’t be paid in the future.

But the players aren’t thinking about the future beyond their own reelection­s next year (or in 2026 for Hochul). Discipline on spending and adding to the Rainy Day reserve are what’s needed, neither of them crowd-pleasers. But tough times demands leadership.

The CBC rates the competing budget plans from very risky (Hochul) to extremely risky (Legislatur­e). But they won’t be the ones paying the price. Regular New Yorkers will.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States