State spending has actually gone up by 4.9% in this year’s budget — not 2% as Gov. Cuomo has claimed, when “off-the-books” spending is included, according to an analysis by the Citizens Budget Commission.
The nonpartisan organization, which evaluates state and New York City fiscal matters, claims that State Operating Funds (SOF) spending is higher when adjusting for a series of accounting maneuvers that is shifting $4.7 billion out of the budget. This includes some $1.84 billion in taxes to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Also, continuing with past practice, the state is prepaying debt service payments a year ahead of time. However, this year, it accounts for $1.5 billion – the largest amount during Cuomo’s administration, according to the blog.
In addition, the state has made changes to the STAR program to change it into a tax credit program. Residential property owners will continue to receive the same or greater benefits, but the reclassification results in spending appearing in $1.24 billion lower.
All together, these and a few other adjustments results in total spending increasing by $4.7 billion for this year, according to the Empire Center.
“Governor Cuomo has implemented important spending reforms to Medicaid, public pensions, and employee and retiree health insurance, and has kept agency spending mostly flat during his tenure. While these measures were sufficient to keep SOF growth to 2% early on, significant increases in other areas, most notably education and Medicaid, have pushed spending growth above 2% in the last three years.
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