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Comptroller DiNapoli says he has concerns about state’s budget

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  • Staff Report 

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has expressed concerns about the future of New York’s finances, as federal pandemic aid is due to end and the possibility of an economic downturn increases. Although the recently approved $229 billion budget plan features record funding for schools, increased support for mental health care, and additional resources for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, DiNapoli has pointed out ongoing transparency issues within the budget.

DiNapoli highlighted that billions of dollars within the budget are exempt from oversight by his office, stating, “There is still too much spending through lump sums without details, and the budget still lacks much-needed transparency.” Additionally, the comptroller noted that a significant increase in capital projects funding could further strain New York’s already high debt levels.

As the end of federal pandemic aid approaches, DiNapoli warned that the state may soon face gaps in spending and revenue, potentially forcing an increase in taxes or cuts in costs. In some cases, lawmakers and the governor may have to implement a combination of both measures, a politically unpopular move. DiNapoli cautioned that the budget gaps could jeopardize the future funding of critical programs.

The Empire Center, a fiscal watchdog organization, also expressed concerns about the size of the budget. Senior Fellow Ken Girardin noted that state expenses are expected to outpace revenues by more than $20 billion over the next three years. He added that increased spending and drawing from the state’s fund balance to cover part of it will leave New York with less ability to manage budget gaps, especially in the event of an economic downturn.