“Put it in the books”

In Columns by Hal Peterson0 Comments

Accountable Government

Howie Rose, a Mets sportscaster, ends every win with the cry “Put it in the books.”  The Mets win, the Mets win!

E.J. McMahon, a political analyst and senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute,   described the recently approved $156 billion state budget “big trouble for New York.” Why? The endgame of this year’s state budget negotiating process was vintage Albany in the worst sense, one of the ugliest ever.

Once again this budget was compiled behind closed doors with no public notice, never read by our legislators, considered a rush job to meet a fictional legally inconsequential March 31 deadline, and loaded with millions of slush funds controlled by Cuomo and legislative leaders. By law the budget must be balanced.  It is advertised as “balanced.” This is another myth built on a myriad of assumptions, including but not limited to revenues derived from expanded gambling, the use of one time injections from financial settlements out of the 2008 near meltdown in the economy, anticipated savings in Medicare and Medicaid programs etc. Shaky ground at best considering the projected outlay of billions to improve infrastructure, and the loss revenues in tax free zones etc.

The budget agreement includes spending in the following major categories:

  • Total State Operating Funds: $96.2 billion; 2.0 percent growth
  • School Aid: $24.8 billion; 6.5 percent growth
  • Medicaid: $18.5 billion; 3.4 percent growth.
  • Higher Education: $7.2 billion; 2.0 percent growth

Game over. So much for accountable government, and fiduciary responsibility

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