Up until now, it’s all been talk.
Here’s what we’re going to do. Here is our vision for the future. Here’s what we have. Here’s what we need.
Today, all that talk gets real when Gov. Andrew Cuomo releases his executive budget and lays out the details of how he thinks state government should address its financial situation.
(Readers can watch the budget presentation, which will be livestreamed starting at 11:30 a.m. on the governor’s website: https://www.governor.ny.gov/.
Today is also the day when you, as a citizen, need to start sharing your opinions about the budget plans with your local and state government representatives.
As we’ve all heard, the biggest issue facing state government is the looming budget deficit, which analysts say is anywhere between $10 billion and $15 billion.
Gov. Cuomo will tell us today how he plans to address that issue in real dollars, most likely by a combination of tax hikes, spending cuts and new federal covid aid.
For New Yorkers, a big boost in federal aid will reduce the state’s need to raise taxes or make drastic spending cuts.
On the negative side, a big federal bailout will also serve as a disincentive for state lawmakers to make necessary budget cuts, as they would have had the federal government not come to the rescue.
That means the state’s institutional budget problems caused by excessive and wasteful spending, overregulation and reliance on high state and local taxes will just be kicked down the road.
Residents today should watch for how much the governor projects to receive from the federal government and where else he plans to cut or tax in order to close whatever budget deficit the feds don’t fill.
Already he’s talked about raising $500 million a year from mobile sports betting and $300 million from legalization of recreational marijuana. How much does he anticipate for the coming year?
We’ll also see whether state, local and education spending cutbacks enacted during the year-long covid crisis will continue, or whether the governor plans to restore the spending cuts, and if so by how much.
We should find out details on how much the governor expects to raise through new economic incentives and initiatives. We’ll also see today whether the governor plans to raise taxes on the wealthy or continue to resist that option.
We also should find out exactly how much the governor thinks the covid crisis will continue to cost New York taxpayers in real dollars this year – from vaccine distribution to medical services and social program costs.
Cuomo’s approach — and how the Legislature responds between now and April 1 when the budget is due — will filter down to local governments and school districts and determine whether they’ll be forced to cut expenses or raise taxes to make up for less aid from Albany.
As they say, the devil is in the details.
New Yorkers will get a glimpse today into the real numbers from the governor’s perspective, and a glimpse into how the state budget may affect their lives in the near future.