The group, “Citizens Budget Commission”(CBC) released a statement and a report entitled: “The Armonk Agenda: Next Steps for Fiscal Reform in New York State”. The goal of the report is to identify “widely supported, high-priority measures for fiscal reform” and “raise awareness and promote discussion of them in the coming year”. CBC, founded in 1932, “is a nonpartisan, non-profit civic organization committed to influencing constructive change in the finances and services of New York State and New York City governments”.
The report identifies five problems:
1)New Yorkers are the most heavliy taxed Americans.
2) New York’s debt burden is among the highest in the nation.
3) New York has large and recurring budget gaps.
4) New York’s budget process lacks timeliness, transparency and responsibility.
5) Improvements in fiscal practices are hampered by unresponsive governmental institutions.
Their report covers 12 “high-priority steps” needed effective fiscal reform. These steps cover the areas of “lowering local taxes, lowering and better managing state debt, and more accountable and transparent annual state budgets.
New York State’s debt is expected to hit an historic high of $50 billion during the current fiscal year and had already reached a “danger zone” more than a year ao, according to the Commission’s analysis.
The State is accumulating debt at such a rapid pace that State debt has doubled just since 1993. In the past year alone (between FY2006 and FY2007), State leaders have added about $4 billion in debt, a one-year growth rate of almost 8 percent! And they did that in a year in which there was no need to cover deficits and the State ended with a $2.2 billion cash surplus. On a per capita basis, the current debt load amounts to about $2,700 for every man, woman, and child in the State.
The group also called on the New York State Legislature to not vote in a pay raise for themselves during a Special Session before they reconvene in January.
State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, said this week there is no discussion of a pay raise and little chance the Senate or Assembly will return by Dec. 31 to take up any legislation.
Bruno and Silver had no comment on the commission’s projection that debt will reach a historic level this year. Neither did Gov. George E. Pataki, who vetoed hundreds of the Legislature’s bills that increased spending Pataki said the state couldn’t afford.
“New York State debt is out of control,” said commission President Diana Fortuna. “Before legislators attend to their personal finances, they should attend to the people’s business and fix New York’s broken debt limit.”
NY State’s debt is “out of control”; however, many of us recently received a rebate check. What’s that all about? Could it be that the election is just around the corner???