The Ongoing Challenge of Producing a $2 Billion Surplus: An Update

Jan 23, 2014
On January 21 Governor Andrew Cuomo presented a $142.1 billion fiscal year 2015 Executive Budget. One of its the most anticipated features – previewed at the State of the State address two weeks ago – was a projected $2 billion annual surplus beginning in fiscal year 2016-17. This surplus is achieved only if growth in state operating fund spending (total spending excluding capital funds and federal aid) is held at 2 percent or less.

The Challenge of Producing a $2 Billion Surplus

Jan 17, 2014
Governor Cuomo has stated the $2 billion in tax cuts he proposed in his State of the State address on January 8 can be paid for with surplus funds that will become available in fiscal year 2016-17 if State Operating Funds disbursements can be held to an annual growth rate of no more than 2 percent and receipts grow as projected. With school aid and Medicaid – the two largest items in the state budget – growing at annual rates at or above 4 percent under separate statutory caps, all other categories of spending, including agency operations, will face offsetting reductions to the plan if the net increase in overall state spending is to be kept to 2 percent.

Binding Arbitration Law: Don’t Extend It, Improve It

Jun 14, 2013
An important agenda item for the final week of the New York State legislative session will be whether and how to extend the law, expiring July 1, that permits police, firefighters and other unionized law enforcement officials to resolve labor contract impasses through binding arbitration. Rather than renewing the statute as a matter of routine, as has occurred for decades, State leaders should amend the statute to address its key weakness: inadequate consideration of the fiscal condition of State and local governments.

Letters to the State Comptroller and NYSTRS on the Governor's "Fixed Rate" Pension Contribution Plan

Feb 25, 2013

I am writing to share the views of the Citizens Budget Commission on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to allow local governments to opt into a “fixed rate” contribution plan to fund their public employee pension obligations. We believe this proposal would endanger the future financial viability of the pension plans and recommend you reject it.

Letter to the Comptroller
Letter to NYSTRS

Governor Cuomo’s Third Budget: Priorities for Fiscal Year 2013-14

Dec 18, 2012
Over the last two years New York State has successfully tackled serious budget issues – curbing rapidly rising public employee pension costs, negotiating reasonable contracts for the state workforce, and implementing significant reforms in Medicaid. These actions helped improve the State’s fiscal condition to the extent that the projected budget gap in fiscal year 2013-14 is a historically low $982 million but important work remains to be done. Four important challenges face state leaders as they prepare the next budget:

Albany Handcuffs New York’s Cities

Jul 05, 2012

Local governments in New York are under serious and growing fiscal pressure, and the Legislature isn’t doing enough to ease the burden. Unfortunately, the Legislature seems oblivious. There was no progress on important bills introduced earlier in the spring session, and in the final days of June a few bills passed that could even make things worse.

How Sick Leave Can Be Bad for a Locality's Fiscal Health, and Health Insurance May Be Even Worse

Jul 02, 2012
Borrowing by local governments to pay for operating expenses is bad financial management; it forces future residents to pay for services consumed by those living in a jurisdiction today, often burdening children with the cost of benefits enjoyed by the current generation.

Improving the Way New York Pays for Medicaid

Jan 25, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposals for fiscal year 2012-13 include an important first step towards fixing a longstanding flaw in the way New York pays for its Medicaid program.

Finally Retire New York's Overpriced Pensions

Jan 23, 2012

President Carol Kellermann pens an op-ed urging the legislature to pass Governor Cuomo's proposal to modernize the State's pension system by offering new employees a 401(k)-style option.

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