April 2001
Focus on the State Budget

From the NYS Assembly    Sheldon Silver, Speaker     Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Chair, Ways & Means Committee

Just six weeks ago, the Governor projected state revenues would total $40.122 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31st. The fiscal year has ended with almost $1 billion in additional revenues. The Governor has miscalculated revenues by over $3 billion from his original estimates — beating his previous forecasting errors.

Knowing what resources we have to work with is a vital first step toward crafting a state budget that invests in the needs of New Yorkers –– raising standards in our schools and keeping college affordable, cutting taxes for businesses and working families, and keeping quality health care affordable.

The Assembly’s revenue forecasts have been more accurate than the Governor’s for the past six years.
The Assembly has a long record of more accurately forecasting state revenues available to raise educational standards, keep college affordable, and meet the needs of New Yorkers. Over the past six years, the Governor significantly underestimated state revenues by close to $11 billion.

Meanwhile, he’s proposed budgets that slashed state funding for education, health care and other essential services the state provides for its residents –– resulting in missed opportunities for New Yorkers.

The Assembly has won historic state budgets that are helping to build a brighter future for our families and our communities.

Armed with the most accurate revenue forecasts, the Assembly fought for, and won, much-needed state investments in our children’s education, restored critical health care funding and cut taxes for businesses and working families by nearly $13 billion since 1994.

Although the current national economic expansion has slowed, modest growth is expected to continue in New York State and across the country, according to the extensive analysis and detailed forecast data prepared by the Assembly’s Ways & Means Committee.

The Assembly’s analysis includes recommendations made by an independent panel of professional economists drawn from major financial corporations, prestigious universities, and private forecasters across the state. For 17 years, these independent professionals have provided their expertise in evaluating the Assembly’s economic and revenue reports.

This year the state will also save nearly $300 million in reduced spending. There are over $4 billion in reserves — more than enough to invest in New York and still assure we are prepared for an emergency or a severe economic downturn.

The Governor’s forecasting errors have ranged from $546 million to over $3 billion.

On March 2nd, the state had already reached the Governor’s projected revenue forecast for the entire fiscal year that was included in his proposed 2000-2001 budget. On March 6th, the state reached the level of revenues agreed to in the final 2000-2001 state budget. And on March 20, New York reached what the Governor projected only a month ago would close out the current fiscal year. (See illustration below.)

Now that the 2000-2001 fiscal year has ended, the Governor has broken his previous record for the largest forecasting error. His revenue estimate for 2000-2001 underestimated actual receipts by over $3 billion.

Over the two-year forecasting period, the Assembly projects the Governor will underestimate receipts by approximately $2.1 billion.

The Assembly calls upon the Senate to join us at the conference committee table to hammer out a state budget that invests in education and health care needs, lowers taxes and creates jobs.

PLEASE NOTE: For additional information, see the Assembly reports entitled New York State Revenue Report 2000-01 and 2001-02, and New York State Economic Report for 2000 and 2001. These reports are available at: www.assembly.state.ny.us

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