Twenty-seven* school districts were seeking to override the state’s property tax cap in yesterday’s school budget votes. Twenty of these districts — or 74 percent — failed to collect the needed 60 percent supermajority to pass, according to news accounts. The closest result was in the Cornwall School District in Orange County, which fell two votes short of an override supermajority.
Noting that New Yorkers had been treated last week to “almost daily political perp walks” involving “a parade of office-holders,” an editorial in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal pointed out: “The bigger scandal in the Empire State continues to be what the politicians do that’s legal.”
Defending the new state budget’s three-year “millionaire’s tax” extension in a Newsday op-ed today, Governor Cuomo writes: “The extension doesn’t take place until 2015, the year our financial projections show a $5-billion budget gap. By extending this tax, which generates $2 billion, the state addresses the future gap.”
Huh? Where did that “$5 billion budget gap” come from?
Based on their just-introduced one-house budget, Assembly Democrats don’t support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate all required reports by local governments and school districts to state agencies. From a transparency and accountability standpoint, that’s good news for taxpayers and the general public, as explained here.
Much less positively, in the same Article 7 budget bill, Assembly Democrats go along with the governor’s proposal to raid the State Insurance Fund (SIF) for $1.75 billion, which I criticize in this New York Post op-ed today.
In line with New York’s motto — “Excelsior” — the state assumes its tax receipts are headed ever upward.
Late last week, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced they had agreed to a consensus forecast adding $200 million to the combined receipts already budgeted for fiscal years 2012-13 (which ends on March 31) and 2013-14. Cuomo’s Executive Budget already had assumed healthy tax receipts growth of 4.8 percent— so the consensus simply pushes the envelope a little further out there, in an arguably riskier direction.
The biggest of the almost-new taxes in Governor Cuomo’s “no new taxes” budget is being targeted for elimination by state Senate Republicans. They were joined today by business and industry representatives in calling on Cuomo to remove the extension of the Section 18-A “assessment” from his budget proposal.
Governor Cuomo’s proposed state budget for fiscal 2014 envisions a relatively strong 6.6 percent ($2.6 billion) increase in net personal income tax (PIT) receipts for the year starting April 1, even though the tax so far has under-performed the original budget projections for fiscal 2013. The highest-earning one percent of New York taxpayers is expected to generate 41 percent of net receipts, according to the Economic and Revenue Outlook volume of the budget (see p. 208).
The chart below shows the estimated and projected five-year trend in the PIT, which is by far the state’s largest tax source. For more fiscal plan details both the receipts and disbursements side, see the Empire Center’s new Explore the State Budget online app.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli just announced approval of a $3.14 billion contract for construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge. (more…)
It seems increasingly clear that New York’s state tax collections will fall below target for the fiscal year ending next March 31. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today issued a monthly cash report showing that tax collections in November were $163 million below the target set less than a month ago in the mid-year financial plan forecast, which was made public almost a month behind schedule.
Instead of raising $85 million by hiking commercial tolls 45 percent, the state Thruway Authority will be shifting at least $60 million in State Police Thruway patrol costs to the state budget’s general fund. That’s the apparent upshot of today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo and the Thruway Authority’s chairman, as reported by the Albany Times Union. It’s good news for transportation companies and their customers, if not necessarily taxpayers in general. But it’s also a bit mystifying.
Given the state’s $1 billion projected general fund gap for fiscal 2013-14 (not counting any negative impacts from Superstorm Sandy), it’s a bit of surprise to learn the state has $60 million to spare. Perhaps Cuomo’s Budget Division thinks there are significant savings to be achieved by redeploying some “Troop T” officers to duties off the Thruway — making the net budget impact far less than $60 million. If this is the case, why the drawn out toll-hike drama in the first place? (By the way, the fiscal 2013 general fund budget for State Police, excluding the Thruway patrol, is $454 million.)