Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, sent a clear warning of what he views as the consequences of New York's mounting debt crisis by voting against the debt service budget bill.
Ceretto said this bill will authorize the state to take on more debt at a time when New Yorkers are already burdened by the fifth highest debt-per-person ratio in the country.
"Each New York resident is on the hook for $2,940 because of irresponsible spending by Albany, and this does not even include the debt that has been incurred by public authorities," Ceretto said. "I am very concerned about how this debt will affect our ability to spend money on important programs today and in the future. I am also worried that this massive debt, if not controlled, has the potential to negatively impact the financial security of future generations."
The total amount of state-supported debt in New York is estimated to be $54.8 billion for fiscal year 2013-14. However, Ceretto said this number alone does not tell the whole story. He said what he called "back-door borrowing" and authority debt significantly increase the debt obligation of all New Yorkers. He said "back-door borrowing" occurs when public authorities issue debt without voter approval. The debt incurred by public authorities in this process comes out to a "staggering" $243.7 billion, he added. He noted that, while the authorities are currently responsible for this debt, if the authorities default on the debt, New York taxpayers would be directly on the hook for these debt payments.
"My vote against this legislation is intended to send a message that New York needs to gain control over its debt problem. The track we are currently on is unsustainable and a course correction is needed to get the problem under control," Ceretto said. "It is our responsibility as elected officials to see that we do not pass our debts down to our children. We must give them the best possible New York that we can."