ALBANY –- The new state budget makes serious in-roads to address New York’s structural deficit problems, but there also are a number of built-in risks that could throw the fiscal numbers into the red later this year, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned this morning.
In his office’s annual assessment of the enacted budget projected to spent $131.7 billion, DiNapoli raised red flags about the state’s economy facing a number of factors that could affect revenues coming into Albany, including oil prices and the political instability in the MIddle East.
The report urges “careful monitoring’’ of revenues and spending to ensure the fiscal plan stays in balance. It noted that state tax collections – which provides a key source of revenue for the budget -- have been below projections every year since 2007 by a total of more than $8.3 billion in that period.
The comptroller noted details are still unavailable from the administration about how some spending cuts will be achieved, including $1 billion in Medicaid, $100 million from still undetermined prison closings and $1.5 billion from state agency cutbacks, including state worker reductions.
“While the state’s economy has shown positive signs, the recovery is still vulnerable to disruptions related to oil and food prices, further declines in real estate values and other factors,’’ the report notes.
DiNapoli said the budget approved by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature relies on what he called "significant growth" in revenues. For instance, he said the budget projects that personal income tax collections will grow by 13 percent in the coming year.
“Revenue projections in recent years have proven excessive. However, the current year revenue estimates, while optimistic, could be attainable, barring significant unforeseen economic disruptions," the report said.
DiNapoli pegged the total amount of non-recurring or one-shot actions to balance the budget at $8.4 billion.