State budget has some gaps

Storm clouds are brewing for New York state’s budget.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently analyzed the state’s financial plan and found potential budget gaps starting in 2018-19.

DiNapoli reports school aid is projected to increase 4.8 percent in 2016-17 and an average 5.3 percent over the remaining three fiscal years in the financial plan period.

Medicaid spending is expected to rise 2.4 percent this year, then by an average 4.5 percent the following three years.

Spending from state operating funds is projected to increase 2 percent this year, but after adjusting for timing of certain payments, the report estimates such spending growth at 3.6 percent.

At the same time, personal income tax collections continue to lag; they are $600 million less than when the financial plan issued in May and nearly $1.2 billion less than February projections.

The financial plan also notes tax receipts this year to increase by 3.3 percent from last year – an increase from the 5.1 increase in tax receipts last year.

DiNapoli’s analysis isn’t a certainty, but that doesn’t mean state officials shouldn’t take DiNapoli’s warning seriously. The storm clouds are brewing. Not acting on DiNapoli’s information will bring a storm pretty quickly.

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