ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo was scheduled to present his third annual state budget Tuesday in a naggingly slow economic recovery and while facing a projected deficit of over $1 billion.
Cuomo and economic forecasters had expected fiscal times to be better by now after state budgets had to contend with deficits totaling more than $10 billion because of drastically reduced tax revenue during the recession.
Watch the governor present the budget, shortly after 2 p.m., live at the Capital Region Scene.
Cuomo has again told state agencies to plan for no or little spending increases over the current budget totaling about $133 billion. His budget presentation is planned for 2 p.m. in Albany.
School aid is already budgeted for a 4-percent increase although Cuomo’s budget is expected to increase that to pay for added security at schools under safety provisions his gun control act signed into law last week. It was a response to the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says tax collections remain below the state’s latest estimates.
Tax collections are still not growing at the rate needed to meet year-end projections, and the boost in personal income taxes in December likely won’t continue,” DiNapoli said.
“So far the budget has been balanced by spending less and taking advantage of one-time windfalls,” DiNapoli said. “With the budget process about to begin again, revenue projections should be realistic so that the budget is not balanced with revenues that won’t be there.”
DiNapoli said the Cuomo administration in November estimated tax growth at 2.9 percent, but it has come in at 1.2 percent. That would mean tax receipts would have to be an unlikely 7.1 percent in the last three months of the fiscal year to meet projections. He said sales tax receipts have also been flat so far this fiscal year.
Local governments will again be looking for some relief from mandated costs as they face potential insolvency because of declining populations and tax bases while costs rise for public workers and their pensions.
Cuomo’s budget may also need to address costs from Superstorm Sandy that won’t be covered by federal aid approved by Congress.
On the revenue side, advocates and opponents of drilling into a natural gas supply in the Southern Tier will be looking for a hint on whether Cuomo will approve or reject the lucrative proposal that environmentalists say threatens drinking water. Cuomo has so far said he won’t act on the so-called hydrofracking issue until a health study is complete.