DiNapoli statement on state budget enactmentby jmaloni
Commends governor and Legislature for meeting budget deadline
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released the following statement Friday:
"I commend Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature for the enactment of an on-time budget for the third consecutive year. This reflects an improved, more efficient process between the governor and the Legislature. Its passage demonstrates a willingness to address issues of keen importance to New Yorkers, including the minimum wage and education and health care funding.
"New York faces an ongoing challenge maintaining budget balance amid slow economic growth and tax revenue that persistently lags projections. The year ahead won't be an easy road.
"This budget does rely on significant non-recurring actions now and in the future. It also includes several new provisions that extend the state's reliance on public authority debt to meet the state's spending needs. New York's debt burden is among the highest in the nation, making the goals of meeting critical infrastructure needs while remaining within the state's debt caps more difficult.
"An agreement was reached on a program that gives local governments another option to contend with the recent spikes in pension costs. Building off the existing program, this new option will give local governments additional flexibility in budgeting and paying for pension costs without undermining the health of the pension fund.
"Necessary steps were taken to address some of the problems my auditors found with the STAR program, which should help eliminate abuse and errors. Unfortunately, not enough was done to increase oversight of the $2 billion special education program after a probe by my office uncovered widespread misuse of taxpayer monies by special education providers. This program remains ripe for continued abuse.
"Several provisions of this budget will have fiscal implications that will be felt well into the future. An honest and accurate accounting of the costs associated with the actions taken, along with realistic projections for revenue, is essential. My office has begun its detailed analysis of the 2013-14 enacted budget and will release its report soon."