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DiNapoli projects significantly higher revenue over two year period

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Tuesday submitted a revenue forecast for the next two years that is $190 million higher than estimated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initial budget projection, but below the number lawmakers had sought.

The revenue forecast decision was thrown to DiNapoli’s office after lawmakers and Cuomo’s budget advisors could not reach an agreement on the number for the first time in years.

Cuomo had all but expected DiNapoli’s estimate to be lower than both what lawmakers had projected as well as his own budget after independent economists had raised concerns of a potential recession as early as next year.

Lawmakers have signaled, as is a virtually annual tradition in Albany, to seek more money in health care and education in a final budget agreement. Still, DiNapoli’s revenue forecast is less than what lawmakers had also anticipated.

In a letter to legislative budget officials as well as Cuomo’s budget director Robert Mujica, DiNapoli writes that forecasting revenue is more challenging this year, given federal tax law changes.

DiNapoli wrote that Cuomo’s proposal to include $488 million in the state’s rainy day fund is a “a good step” toward guarding against fiscal uncertainty, he wrote more should be done in a final budget agreement to guard against a softening of the economy.

Updated: In a statement, Cuomo’s office said the $190 million would be earmarked for reserves. In other words, Cuomo doesn’t want to use the money as part of the budget pie.

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